The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast shows that Rhode Island is in line for a direct hit by Hurricane Irene as the powerful first hurricane of the season makes its way up the Atlantic seaboard this week.
The NWS predictors also show the storm picking up strength from there as it tracks north along the Atlantic coastline. The storm is likely to make landfall in North Carolina Saturday before reaching Virginia Saturday evening.
Forecast models show the storm tracking directly into southern New England by early Monday and losing some power.
Waves at are expected to begin building to 4-foot swells on Thursday ahead of the storm, then reach 6.5 to 9.5 feet on Saturday, according to MagicSeaweed.com, which the surfing community relies upon for marine forecasts.
On Sunday, the big waves are expected to pound Middletown's southern shore, with swells gathering at about 12.5 feet by 6 a.m. before reaching 23 feet by noon Sunday.