Updated from 12:04 p.m. EDT with latest forecast from the National Weather Service and Subway shutdownsNEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tropical storm-force winds began to batter the coast of North Carolina on Friday afternoon as Hurricane Irene descended upon the East Coast. The brunt of the storm was expected to strike in the evening as a trough of low pressure was projected to intersect Irene and push it north with New York City lining up for a direct hit.
|Hurricane Irene downgraded to a Category 2 Hurricane on Friday.|
Scenes at Rockaway, Queens after Hurricane Donna made landfall on Long Island as a Category 2 in 1960
"Weakening does not mean weak," Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, told TheStreet. He said that Irene had winds of 115 mph to 120 mph for some time on Thursday, but added that the difference between the impact of 115 mph winds and 100 mph winds for the size of this storm was "academic." Hurricane warnings stretched from North Carolina all the way up to New Jersey, and a watch was in effect from the New York/New Jersey border to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border.