RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As of 10:15 p.m., the center of Hurricane Irene was located roughly about 50-100 miles NE of Virginia Beach and moving NNE at 16 mph. Maximum sustained winds are estimated to be around 80 mph near the center.
Rain bands continue to spiral around the hurricane into central Virginia. However, the intensity of the rainfall is most certainly on the decline. Sustained winds will average 20-40 mph with occasional gusts over 50 mph for the next few hours. Closer to the coast, sustained winds may be as high as 40-60 mph with gusts to hurricane force (74+ mph). The winds will be slower to diminish near the coast and won't die down significantly until Sunday morning.
As of 10:15 p.m., the back edge of the rain shield associated with Irene was located on a line from just east of Charlottesville, to Farmville, to South Hill. As the hurricane continues to accelerate to the northeast, we do expect the western edge of the rain shield to begin shifting more quickly to the east and northeast later this evening and overnight. Improvements will be slow to occur, but there is light at the end of this tunnel.
By Sunday morning, gusty winds will gradually subside from west to east across the area with increasing sunshine expected region wide through the morning into early afternoon. Unfortunately, it will be rather hot and humid with afternoon highs around 90°.
We'll continue to provide you frequent updates on-air and online at nbc12.com.