Is this all there is?
Maybe it doesn't look so bad to you out there. Maybe you're ready to get out on the road and have a look around, or head for Gramma's house with the kids. Here's meteorologist Eric the Red's take on what's ahead for Maryland as the sun goes down and Irene heads our way:
"The rain and wind we are getting now are nothing compared to what is in store, so don't be lulled into thinking this is it.
"BTW, before I start, it appears that Irene is going to track right up over the coastline. This is a very bad trajectory for the beach towns of MD, DE, and NJ. The silver lining is Irene did not intensify before making landfall today.
"However, due to the storm's large size, lack of wind shear (winds aloft buffeting the storm), and a track that takes it in close proximity to water and over low-lying land masses, Irene will be slow to weaken. AllI can say is thank God this thing didn't deepen the way models had projected.
"The core of the winds and heavy rain will approach from the south this evening, reaching the Baltimore metro area between 7 and 10 pm. Winds will increase out of the northeast to 40 mph sustained, with higher gusts, and peak during the late-night and early morning hours... (~ 5 am).
"The center of Irene should be just north of Ocean City, MD by 5 am, sparing that town an untimely peak storm surge (with high tide ~ 7 am). Rain should cut off rather rapidly after 8 am on Sunday, but the winds will be much slower to diminish. While the intensity will be less, the winds will finally die down late Sunday afternoon.
"Rain will be heaviest on the Eastern Shore and the counties immediately adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay, where 4" to 8" of rain is likely, with 12" totals possible closer to Irene's center. Rain amounts will diminsh notably as you head west from Carroll into Frederick County, MD, but showers from Irene will reach well into WV and western MD nevertheless."
By the way, just got a call from BGE's Rob Gould. He says the utility at 6 p.m. had about 13,000 outages, mostly in the southern end of its territory, with 6,000 more already restored. But the night is young. "The storm has yet to really hit us," he said.
Great. Where's my flashlight?