1. Storm Watch

    Hurricane Irene to Become Category 4

    CARIBBEAN SEA - AUGUST 24:  In this handout satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Hurricane Irene on August 24, 2011 in the Caribbean Sea. Irene, now a Category 3 storm with winds of 120 miles per hour, is projected to possibly clip the Outer Banks region of North Carolina before moving up the eastern seaboard of the U.S.  (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

    NOAA / Getty Images

    Hurricane Irene is picking up speed: The storm is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane Thursday, with winds exceeding 131 miles per hour. North Carolina has begun evacuating parts of the Outer Banks in advance of the storm, which is expected to make landfall at the state on Saturday morning. Early Thursday, Irene pounded the Bahamas with up to 15 inches of rain. The last Category 3 hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was Wilma in 2005.

    Read it at Weather.com's Live Storm Tracker