Hurricane Irene remains a powerful storm - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Hurricane Irene makes landfall in NC

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Irene making her way into the area (Source: WMBF News Viewer Brad Bewley) Irene making her way into the area (Source: WMBF News Viewer Brad Bewley)

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) Hurricane Irene continued its right-hand turn to the NNE Friday night and the eye has made landfall in near Cape Lookout North Carolina Saturday morning after causing high winds and heavy rains along the SC coast.

In the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Irene is still a Category 1 hurricane with  sustained winds of 85 mph, moving northeast at 15 mph. That is down from 110 mph at 5 a.m. Friday and 120 mph Thursday night.

Irene is expected to pass over northeastern North Carolina this afternoon, and reach southern New England by Sunday.

Rough tides and high waves prompted beaches from Surfside Beach up into North Myrtle Beach to close the water to swimmers Friday.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Horry and Georgetown counties Friday as Hurricane Irene dumped heavy rain and harsh winds ripped through the area.

A flood warning in effect for the same counties until 8:15 p.m. Friday was canceled early when Irene was about 150 miles off our coastline. The storm's motion has now shifted to the north, northeast and looks to continue heading toward the SE North Carolina coast.

At its closest point, Irene was about 125 miles off the Grand Strand coast late Friday night and Saturday morning. At that point, we saw some tropical storm force winds of around 40 to 50 mph. Some areas along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach saw gusts up to 60 mph.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is expected to be hit the hardest in the Carolinas. View a Live Surf Cam at Jeannette's Pier on the Outer Banks.

Inland communities likely won't see much but some feeder bands that bring gusty winds and brief downpours into late Friday night and early Saturday morning. 

Hatchell says people living along the coast should still not rule out the possibility of coastal flooding, depending on the tides. Check out Hatchell's weather blog here, as he discusses the latest on Irene and her projected path.

The WMBF Storm Team is updating you with text message alerts concerning Irene's course, strength, and evacuation, if needed. Text WMBFFORECAST to 56376. Of course, you can track Irene from you computer with the WMBF Hurricane Tracker. You can see where Irene is predicted to be on specific dates and times over the next week.

The WMBF Storm Team is keeping you safe with looming threats from Irene with the Hurricane Evacuation map, as well as tips on how to prepare your home for high winds and rains.

If you're on the move, you can track Irene or any other storm on the WMBF Storm Team Weather app. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, you can download the app for free.

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