Hurricane Irene Path: Atlantic Beach & Cape Fear Take First Hit in North Carolina

Irene Cometh: Emergencies DeclaredPlayABCNEWS.com
WATCH Hurricane Irene: Emergencies Declared

Hurricane Irene has made landfall near Cape Fear as a Category 1 with winds at 85 miles per hour, down 15 miles per hour from the 11 p.m. ET advisory.

"Incredibly strong gusts, pretty surprising to those of us who thought we were nearly done with Irene, after 18 hours," said ABC News' Steven Portnoy, reporting from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

The Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head will all be on the "dirty side" of the storm. That means a one-two punch when it comes to wind and storm surge.

Click here to see viewer submitted photos of Hurricane Irene's impact from ABC's WTVD in North Carolina

The Outer Banks will see winds shift 180 degrees as the eye of the hurricane passes. This means water from the bay will pile up, increasing the storm surge damage. The Outer Banks will see its usual damage, flooding, ocean meeting the bay, sand dunes rearranged, piers wash away, roads flooded and washed out.

Mother nature did give the Outer Banks one break: high tide has passed and when the eye goes by the tide will be low.

Irene is still running into lots of dry air to the north and west of it and the models are now in agreement when it comes to New York City: Irene will likely make landfall over Nassau County on Long Island.

Now that Irene has made landfall on the Outer Banks, it will be interacting with land, cutting off circulation and outflow all the way up the East Coast. This will further weaken the storm as it makes its approach to New York City.

For more on how Hurricane Irene is impacting New York and the surrounding tri-state area, go to ABC News affiliate WABC-TV.