Having weakened slightly overnight, but still a powerful Category 2 hurricane, Irene is still tracking northward along the U.S. eastern coastline with 110 mph sustained winds. Irene is not expected to strengthen significantly, as dry air and light to moderate vertical shear will prevent intensification. However, very warm ocean temperatures in the vicinity of coastal North Carolina always provide the possibility for the storm to increase slightly in strength before landfall in the vicinity of the Outer Banks.
The two images shown here were taken by the NOAA GOES-East satellite on August 26, 2011 at 1245z. The first image is from the visible band on the satellite. The second image uses infrared imagery, which detects cloud temperatures. The most intense parts of the storm are clouds that are very high in the atmosphere and have very cold temperatures. Typically these areas are towards the center of circulation and are colored in a dark orange in this image.
For the most recent satellite imagery and animations, please see our real-time imagery web page.