It is again important to note that the strongest winds and heaviest rains will reside within 50 miles of the eye of the storm. Winds and rain totals will drop off dramatically as you move farther west. That is why this is a tricky forecast...a 10 mile shift to the west could mean a lot. Here are the forecast images for Saturday evening and Saturday night. Notice how the heaviest rain stays generally in the eastern half of VA.
My forecast for Richmond remains the same. I think the city will see 1 to 3" of rain west to east. Some areas on the far eastern and southeastern edge could easily pick up over 4". I want to again emphasize that this will not be a continuous rain. Bands will bring occasional downpours.Winds will remain sustained 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph at the peak of the storm Saturday night.
Norfolk, Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore will see hurricane-force winds (70 to 90 mph) and rain totals from 6 to 10". If you live in between Richmond and these areas, you can pretty much take an average between the two.
A tornado watch will be issued Saturday evening and night for eastern VA as Irene interacts with the land. A brief weak tornado will be possible during this time.
Although Irene will bring powerful winds and storm surge to the coast, ultimately speaking, I think it will be remembered for its' flooding rains. I still think New England will see some bad flooding (too much concrete). However, Irene is nothing like Isabel, especially for central VA.