PM Update: Basking in the final hours of pre-Irene calm; conditions deteriorate Saturday

Hurricane Tracking Center with Tweets from NHC
Q&A transcript: Prepare for Hurricane Irene
Live updates: Follow the storm all day
Tropical Storm Warning for most of D.C. metro area
Hurricane Warning for Va/Md/De Beaches
Irene: Are You Prepared?
Live webcams of East Coast beaches

As Irene begins to bump up against the North Carolina coastline, we’re dealing with the calm before the storm. And with highs topping out in the mid-80s to near 90, we’ve seen a fair amount of sun, but now also a few isolated showers popping up this afternoon. Overall, the weather won’t start going too far downhill until at least midday or so tomorrow.

Through Tonight: A risk of a few showers and storms — indirectly related to, but being pushed northwest by, Irene — should diminish heading through the evening. Any break in the rain risk could be short lived though as additional showers may begin to pop up after midnight heading toward morning. Clouds also increase as Irene nears. Lows range from near 70 to the mid-70s

Tomorrow (Saturday): It’s probably cloudy to start, though maybe a few peeks of sun through high clouds are possible. A slight risk of showers early increases as the day wears on as does wind. Beginning as soon as midday or early afternoon, more consistent rain bands may begin pushing into the area from the south and southeast. The risk for periods of heavy rain (especially the eastern half of the area) then continues into Saturday night. Morning winds around 10-15 mph pick up to about 25-40 mph (50 mph possible over eastern areas) by late evening and into the overnight, with higher gusts likely. Highs should reach the upper 70s to lower 80s. See more details in our FAQ from earlier.

Sunday: It appears we may actually end up with a decent Sunday, if also a bit breezy still. Irene tries to head off to the northeast around sunrise, leaving us with increased sunshine and temperatures back into the mid-80s or above. Winds should not be more than a nuisance and by afternoon they head much lighter.

See Camden Walker’s forecast through the beginning of next week. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter .

Chasing Irene: Intrepid weather lovers are amassing along the North Carolina coast to observe the landfall of Irene. Here are a few to keep track with down there: Brett Adair, Jason Foster, SWAT Chasers, and Gerald Satterwhite. Josh Morgerman of iCyclone is also blogging here.

Ian Livingston is a forecaster/photographer and information lead for the Capital Weather Gang. By day, Ian is a defense and national security researcher at a D.C. think tank.

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