By Steven Strouss

The peak of hurricane season is still a few weeks away but we are watching Irene closely as she spins near the island of Hispaniola. Irene is the first hurricane of the Atlantic season and could strengthen into a major hurricane with winds of 115 mph before making a possible United States landfall.

Currently, Hurricane Irene is a category 1 storm with sustained winds of 80 mph and gusts to 100 mph. This storm already pounded Puerto Rico with flooding rains and damaging winds and is now moving northwest toward the Bahamas. Most of our computer models then turn Irene north but keep it close to Florida’s east coast.

The best chance of landfall would be on Saturday in the Carolinas. Irene also has the potential to dump heavy rains in the Mid-Atlantic States and New England.

If Irene comes to our area Sunday, there could be big flooding problems since our ground is already saturated from recent heavy rainfall. This month is already the rainiest August ever with 13.00 inches and is challenging the all time monthly record of 13.07 inches set back in September of 1999 when Hurricane Floyd swept by.

One thing is for sure, along the U.S. east coast there will be high surf and rip currents late week and throughout the weekend so take precaution when entering the water and always check with lifeguards.

There is still some uncertainty with the exact track and intensity of Irene so stay tuned to CBS3 and we will keep you informed of the latest forecast.