ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland officials are keeping close tabs on the track and strength of Hurricane Irene.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Wednesday afternoon that Irene’s winds had strengthened to about 120 mph (193 kph). The storm was centered about 250 miles (402 kilometers) southeast of the Bahamian capital of Nassau, though forecasters say hurricane conditions are already occurring over the southeastern Bahamas.

Irene is expected to get stronger over warm ocean waters and could become a Category 4 storm with winds of at least 131 mph (211 kph) by Thursday.

Irene was moving to the northwest at 12 mph (19 kph) on its path to the U.S. East Coast.

Gov. Martin O’Malley held a conference call with state emergency management officials on Tuesday to discuss the hurricane, as well as an earthquake felt in Maryland.

Richard Muth, director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, says the Eastern Shore is now on Irene’s current projected trajectory.

Muth says if projections don’t change, the hurricane would hit Maryland as a Category 1 hurricane this weekend, but it could gain strength.

It’s possible Irene will make landfall over the North Carolina coast Saturday, then move north into the Chesapeake Bay. But because such projections can be uncertain, Irene could straddle the coast.

O’Malley is encouraging residents to be aware of flood maps available by the state.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (10)
  1. LL says:

    flood maps, you got flood maps ? wait their is no link, i guess you got flood maps but not sharing them ….

    1. RT says:

      That’s what i was thinking.Any credible news agency would have said click here to see the maps or their available here. I guess not, or maybe they really are not available and O’malley is just talking out his butt again.

  2. amandy says:

    Flood maps, what flood maps. That is good O’Malley tells to be aware of a flood maps that is available when we do not know that we have one or where to go to. I was watching Irene update when I got off from work then 5 mins later earthquake hit. East coast is getting hit this week first earthquake aka ground attack then later hurricane irene aka air attack whats next.

  3. cms827 says:

    Make sure you have flood insurance or your house gets destroyed and you are not covered. I have never had a problem in 20 years and my basement/family room flooded out last week and of course I am not in a flood zone so I am not covered, lost furniture, carpet, walls. Just FYI. The insurance company came out took a look and said no it is surface water and we are not covered. So much for paying them 1200.00 per year. Travelers Insurance sucks.

    1. RT says:

      $1200 per year damn! I pay half that, I have ERIE, but I also have a small home too, not sure about your home, hard to make a comparison.

  4. RT says:

    I found the link that is soooooo valuable WJZ doesn’t even want us to know about it. Here it is it should have been in the article in the first place, worthless.

  5. Newman says:

    Get lives you bunch of IDIOT LOSERS! Don’t you have jobs?

  6. willy ray says:

    everyone always thinking everyone is out to get them. The news just doesnt have a link, who cares, do a search and u shall find flood maps. You have to make stuff happen for yourself people, not sit back and wait for bad things to happen. No wonder baltimore is the way it is.

    1. Maryland majority says:

      You’re wrong. Baltimore and Maryland is like it is, because O’Malley didn’t make us self- sufficient. I can’t even relieve myself without instructions. You and WJZ expect me to find flood maps? I can’t read a map. O’Malley needs to teach me or pay someone to read it for me and then explain it to my ignorant a$$.

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