After a run through the Bahamas, Hurricane Irene is tracking northwest throughout the course of the Thursday, putting coastal North Carolina in the storm’s sites.

Fortunately for residents of the region, much of the storm’s fury may dissipate prior to it making landfall, notes Emily Paterson, associate manager of cat response at RMS. Since Irene will be passing over cooler waters in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center is predicting the storm to be the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane when it reaches the North Carolina coast.

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