Re: Hurricane Irene
As a Fl resident for 8 years, a few quick tips.
1. The NOAA tries to keep their projected tracks "conservative", as in "worst case scenario".
2. CAT 1 or 2 are ok to ride out, unless you are right on the coast. Of course, if they say "evacuate" its best to do so (unless they are ridiculous, like with Houston and Hurricane RITA). The safest place in the house, if you don't have a basement, is usually a bathroom.
3. It's not a bad idea to leave if you think power will be down for an extended period. Or even if you just want to drive up to the mountains for the weekend. If your roof blows off, you're not going to "save the furniture" by being there. Being without power can be worse the the storm itself, which usually passes over in a few hours.
4.As for IRENE, keep in mind the worst part of the storm tends to be the Northeast quadrant, which in this case will be over the sea most of the time.
5. Good luck, everyone.