That would mean that the damage path would be on the East End of Long Island, but the entire region could see heavy rains and damaging winds.
New York City and Long Island are each alerting local residents. So too is New Jersey's local communities.
New York City has a hurricane preparedness pamphlet, and they have an evacuation map based on potential for flooding due to storm surges, though I think most people will find trying to evacuate to be quite difficult and/or consider living in apartment buildings to be sufficient to protect against wind and storm surge damage.
For now, the Bahamas are trying to pick up the pieces and all eyes are on Irene to make landfall near the Outer Banks before it begins its run up the East Coast.
Here's a good guide for hurricane preparedness - and stocking up on water, canned goods, batteries, radios, and candles are a good idea, as is having a go-bag in case the situation turns dire or you are required to evacuate on a moment's notice.
Also, in advance of a hurricane, it's a good idea to secure loose items in yards to prevent them from being turned into projectiles that can damage property.
Gov. Chris Christie has issued a state of emergency for New Jersey and mobilized the state's National Guard to deal with potential flooding or other issues that might arise during the storm's appearance over the weekend.
Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Charlie McKenna told New Jersey residents to put gas in their cars, have cash on hand and get a hand-cranked radio, first aid kit and any necessary medicine.
He recommended getting a gallon of water per person and canned goods.
"No one should underestimate this storm at all," McKenna said.
Current forecast guidance suggests Hurricane Irene will turn northward today and tomorrow as it approaches the North Carolina coast. The National Hurricane Center said it appears a trough will form along the east coast, providing an alleyway for the cyclone to travel northward rather than curl out to sea.
Hurricane Watches were issued along the North Carolina coast this morning, and tropical storm watches extend further south along South Carolina and Georgia. At this time, it appears the greatest impacts from Irene would be felt in New Jersey overnight Saturday through about midday Sunday, according to NWS Mount Holly.