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Irene likely to douse Frederick area In rain

By Pam Rigaux

Wednesday - 8/24/2011, 6:34am  ET

The Frederick area is expected to experience rain and wind as Hurricane Irene hits the Atlantic Coast on Saturday.

Even if the center of Irene stays on the coast, rainfall could extend up to 200 miles from the center, AccuWeather meteorologist Erik Pindrock said.

The chance of rain in the Frederick area on Saturday night and Sunday is 80 percent, National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Konarik said.

"That rain could be heavy," he said. Flash flooding would be the main concern.

River levels are average or below average and should be able to handle the rain, he said.

The weather service did not have a rainfall prediction. Pindrock predicted less than half an inch of rain would fall in the Frederick area over a 24-hour period.

The brunt of the storm is likely to be east of Frederick, he said.

Pindrock predicted sustained winds of 10 mph and gusts more than 20 mph during the storm. He expects temperatures Saturday and Sunday to peak at about 80 degrees.

Irene was approaching the southeastern Bahamas on Tuesday evening as a category 1 hurricane, Konarik said. Category 1 has winds up to 90 mph.

Irene was likely to escalate to a category 3 hurricane capable of producing wind gusts of 111 mph by the time it hits eastern North Carolina on Saturday afternoon, Pindrock said.

Copyright 2011 The Frederick News-Post. All rights reserved.