Tropical Strom Irene became a Category 1 Hurricane early Monday morning. Irene will be the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2008. Hurricane Ike was the last hurricane to hit the United States around Galveston, Texas as a Cat 2 Hurricane, but it has been since 2005 that a Major (considered Category 3 hurricane) has hit the United States with Hurricane Wilma.
This is the longest the United States has ever gone without a major hurricane strike since the 1800′s. Current paths of Irene have shifted the storm Northward, which will steer the storm away from the mountainous range of Haiti. This spells trouble for the Carolinas. The last hurricane to hit South Carolina was Gaston back in 2004, but Irene has the potential to be more severe. Since it is a Cat 1 now, and will have very little to break it apart it is expected to intensify as it moves over extremely warm water.
It should be interesting to watch how the system unfolds over the next two days, which will ultimately decide how far north it goes, but at this point Florida will likely experience high surf, and potential Tropical Storm Winds, as well as some rain…but the brunt of it should arrive late Friday or early Saturday somewhere along the Carolinas