I'm just an old country boy, a Louisiana native, and I've lived through these things. If you're paying attention to the storm track( and if you live on the East Coast, you should be) it looks like Irene is about to make herself at home in your neighborhood.
You can go to the National Weather Service and look at the whole page, but the map tells the story to a Louisiana boy. Y'all are fixin to get some wind. And rain. And, it might not be pretty. Here's another picture.
That red on the map ain't good. That's the danger area as the weather-weenies can see it today. I'll guarantee that Irene is going to jog just before landfall and this map is just a "best guess". From what I'm seeing, most of the coast, north of Charleston, is in danger. I'm talking Virginia, D.C., Philly, Boston, New York, the whole corridor. Y'all need to start battening down, packing up, and heading west. Do a mapquest and make reservations now, somewhere 200 miles inland. That should be far enough. It'll be nice to have reservations so that when you get to the hotel you won't find that the entire state of Maryland got there ahead of you.
The worst danger, with the wind, is the water. When wind stacks up water and it runs into a coastline, you're in danger of a charming little phenomena called Storm Surge. That's when the ocean comes to visit and your house moves several miles inland. Here's the projected map.
You'll notice that New York city is in that purple area, along with a huge part of the coastline.
Seriously, folks. Y'all start paying attention to what the weather-weenies and the local emergency planners are telling you.