As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the National Hurricane Center has revised its prediction of Hurricane Irene's path into the New York City and Long Island region. The latest consensus forecast would put the center of the storm over Brooklyn and Queens by mid-day on Sunday.
A hurricane watch was posted from Sandy Hook New Jersey south to Virginia Beach. A hurricane warning was posted from Virginia Beach south to the South Carolina-North Carolina border.
The westward shift in the storm's forecast path should come as some relief to residents and visitors on eastern Long Island. As recently as Wednesday evening, the hurricane's eye had been predicted to pass over East Hampton Town.
The National Hurricane Center continued to advise caution to a wide area, as these types of storms have been known to deviate by a considerable margin from the forecasts. As of the 5 p.m. advisory, all of Long Island remained at risk.
Irene is expected to remain a powerful storm as it reaches the New York area. As of 5 p.m., the hurricane center reported "maximum sustained winds are near 115 miles per hour . . . with higher gusts. Irene is a category-three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Some strengthening is possible tonight and Friday."