Irene has visited the East Coast before. Check out the differences and similarities between the two hurricanes named Irene that struck in 1999 and 2011.
The ninth tropical storm and the sixth hurricane of the 1999 hurricane season, Irene developed in the western Caribbean on Oct. 13 and hit Cuba and the Bahamas before heading to the U.S.
This year's Hurricane Irene was also the ninth named storm of the hurricane season, and also inflicted heavy damage on the Bahamas and other Caribbean nations before heading north.
In 1999, Irene struck South Florida as a Category 1 hurricane and moved across the state before turning north. It approached the Carolinas but remained offshore.
Irene hit North Carolina's Outer Banks on Aug. 27, 2011, as a Category 2 storm. It made a second landfall in New Jersey on Aug. 28, and was downgraded to a tropical storm when it made its third landfall in Coney Island, N.Y., later that morning.
The storm in 1999 was called a "wet hurricane," dropping 10 to 20 inches of rain in the Miami metro area and causing flooding unseen since Hurricane Dennis in 1981.
This year's storm has also caused extensive flooding due to its size and relatively slow speed, with some areas of inland southern Virginia reporting 16 inches of rain.
The 1999 storm caused an estimated $800 million in damage across Florida, mostly due to the torrential rain it caused.
Damage estimates from this year's Hurricane Irene are still coming in, but could be as high as $3 billion.
Irene killed 18 people in 1999, including one in North Carolina and eight in Florida. Five Floridians, including three in one family, were killed when they walked through electrified waters due to downed power lines.
About the same number died this year. Fifteen deaths have been reported so far as a result of Hurricane Irene this year -- one each in Connecticut, Maryland and Florida, two in New Jersey, six in North Carolina and four in Virginia.
Just days after the 1999 storm moved through Florida, President Bill Clinton declared 18 counties as disaster areas. In addition, 66 counties in North Carolina eligible for assistance due to Hurricane Floyd were also eligible for more assistance due to damage from Irene.
The worst of this year's Hurricane Irene had passed by late afternoon Aug. 28, but reports of flooding and other damage were just beginning to trickle in and will likely exceed that of the 1999 storm.