Hurricane Irene is moving north-northeast across eastern North Carolina at 13 mph with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.
At 2 p.m., Irene was about 45 miles west-northwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and about 96 miles south of Norfolk, Va.
Because of Irene, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has canceled 14 arrivals and 36 departures.
The arrivals are Albany (ALB); Neward (EWR); White Plains (HPN); John F. Kennedy (JFK); La Guardia (LGA); and Myrtle Beach (MYR). The departures are Hartford (BDL); Boston (BOS); Baltimore (BWI); Neward (EWR); Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW); White Plains (HPN); Long Island (ISP); John F. Kennedy (JFK); La Guardia (LGA); and Philadelphia (PHL).
If you are flying, check with your carrier to see whether you are affected. You also can check the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's website.
Meanwhile, the Broward County Aviation Department, Port Everglades and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Vistors Bureau are coordinating communcations to passengers on three inbound cruise ships who might be affected by flight cancellations.
The visitors bureau updated its list of nearby hotels for passengers who might find themselves with no way to get home to the Northeast after returning from cruises this weekend. On Saturday, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Carnival's Freedom of the Seas returned to Port Everglades. On Sunday, the Allure of the Seas will be returning to port. Hotel information is available at http://www.sunny.org/hotels/
Port Everglades is coordinating communications with cruise lines on the hurricane's impact on travel.
The Broward County Aviation Department is working with airline and rental car agencies to share hotel information with passengers.
National Weather Service Doppler indicated the eye made landfall near Cape Lookout, N.C., around 7:30 a.m. with 85 mph winds, or Category 1 strength.
At 2 p.m., the center was located near latitude 35.5 north; longitude 76.3 west.
Canada has issued a tropical storm warning from the US border northeastward to Fort Lawrence, including Grand Manan and for the south coast of Nova Scotia from Fort Lawrence to Porters Lake.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Chesapeake Bay from Drum Point northward and the tidal Potomac; and north of Sagamore Beach to Eastport, Maine.
The center of Irene will move across northeastern North Carolina on Saturday afternoon. The storm is forecast to move near or over the mid-Atlantic coast on Saturday night and move over southern New England on Sunday.
Slight weakening is forecast as Irene crosses eastern North Carolina, but Irene is expected to remain at or near hurricane strength as it approaches New England.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach southern New England by late Saturday evening, with hurricane conditions expected by Sunday morning. Winds affecting the upper floors of high rise buildings will be significantly stronger than those near ground level.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 90 mph from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 260 miles. The NOAA automated station at Cape Lookout recently reported sustained winds of 61 mph and a wind gust of 78 mph.
An extremely dangerous storm tide will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 9 feet above ground level in the hurricane warning level in North Carolina. Storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 8 feet above ground level within the hurricane warning area from the North Carolina-Virginia border northward to Cape Cod. The surge will be accompanied by large, destructive and life-threatening waves.
Irene is expected to produce rainfall of 6 to 10 inches, with maximum amounts of 15 inches.
Large swells are affecting portions of the coast of the Southeastern United States and could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Isolated tornadoes are possible over extreme eastern North Carolina on Saturday.
Irene’s next target appears to be the Virginia-Maryland-Delaware coastal area, as the storm is predicted to either brush or hit that region on Sunday, potentially with sustained winds of up to 110 mph, or top-end category 2 strength.
From there, Irene is projected to barrel over New York City with sustained winds of between 85 and 110 mph later on Sunday.
Another problem: That region is not used to dealing with hurricanes. Although Hurricane Bob hit Long Island as a Category 2 system in August 1991, Irene is a much larger storm and holds potential to cause much more damage.
Irene's projected track could move one way or the other and ease the threat to New York. Yet models are in fairly close agreement that the storm will at least veer near that area.
It also is possible that Irene will weaken into a tropical storm before reaching New York, as it is expected to churn into an area of wind shear.
However, senior hurricane specialist Richard Pasch of the National Hurricane Center said because Irene has "such a large and intense circulation, it will probably be rather slow to weaken.”
After New York, Irene is expected to gradually weaken over land as it moves over New England on Monday.
Because Irene has been battering the Bahamas for the past day, scores of flights between South Florida and the island chain have been cancelled, including 140 from Miami International and 31 from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Airports in Bimini, Eleuthera,Freeport, Georgetown, Governors Harbour, Marsh Harbour, Nassau and Treasure Cay have been temporarily forced to close down.
As for South Florida, Irene’s fringes made for a mostly gray, gloomy day with intermittent gusty winds and bands of rain.
That was a lot better than feeling the brunt of the storm, said meteorologist Robert Molleda of the National Weather Service in Miami.
"You don't want to be in the center of a major hurricane," he said.
Irene’s first rain band moved over South Florida at about 9 a.m. on Thursday, generating a gust of 47 mph at the Lake Worth Pier and 40 mph in Delray Beach. The rest of the region felt gusts up to 30 to 35 mph, Molleda said.
Most of the region received less than an inch of rain from the system, said meteorologist Kim Brabander.
Deerfield Beach, meanwhile, has reopened its fishing pier. The pier had been closed due because Irene had kicked up dangerously high surf.
The hurricane center also is monitoring newly formed Tropical Depression 10 in the eastern Atlantic. It is forecast to grow into a tropical storm within the next day and aim north out to sea without threatening land. The next named storm will be Jose.