Bahamas Braces for Hurricane Irene

    An image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from the GOES East satellite shows Hurricane Irene, right, passing over Puerto Rico Monday Aug. 22, 2011.  Irene, the first hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season, was expected to affect Florida later in the week and could clip Georgia and the Carolinas. (AP Photo/NOAA)

    NOAA / AP Photo

    Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a Category 1 storm Tuesday night as the Bahamas braced for the storm. It had been upgraded to a Category 2 storm on Monday night, but some predicted it could become a stronger Category 4 hurricane as it moves east of central Florida and heads toward the Carolinas. Thanks to warm water and very little wind, “it’s moving into an environment which is very ideal for strengthening,” said a National Hurricane Center spokesman. Forecasters predict it will hit the Carolinas by Saturday, and the New York area on Sunday night or Monday morning.

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