Storm Watch

Irene Nears Landfall in NC

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Wind and rain from Hurricane Irene chase visitors off the beach August 26, 2011 in Nags Head, North Carolina.

Hurricane Irene roared closer to landfall Friday evening near the North Carolina coast, bringing 100-mile-per-hour winds and a storm surge. Irene is expected to make landfall near Beaufort, N.C., between 7 and 8 a.m. Saturday. An ocean surge of up to 11 feet is possible in North Carolina, as forecasters say the water and possible flooding could be more damaging than the wind. The Category 2 storm is expected to weaken as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard, but will still cause massive damage in the Northeast. New York and New Jersey issued evacuation orders for coastal areas, New York City closed the local airports, and mass transportation will close Saturday at noon. The storm has already cost an estimated $1.1 billion in insured losses in the Caribbean, and is expected to rack up more costs as it moves through the Northeast.