Though Hurricane Irene has weakened to a Category 1 hurricane, it is expected to hit the North Carolina coast, heading north into Virginia and up the Chesapeake Bay by Sunday morning.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate on Tuesday said the entire East Coast should be on alert. Officials say the onset of adverse weather will hit the Carolinas by Saturday with treacherous surf conditions starting on Friday, according to the Miami Herald.

Hurricane Irene, based on projections, will move into the mid-Atlantic states by Sunday and then into the Northeast by Monday, forecasters said.

The impact could be widespread, depending on exactly where the storm goes,'' said a National Hurricane Center official. We see no reason for it not to be a major hurricane in its track northward up along the gulfstream. We're very concerned about what's going to happen in New England.''

Irene is shown on the accompanying maps from the National Hurricane Center and pictures captured by NASA.