HURRICANE Irene has churned into a stronger Category 2 storm and has cut a destructive path through the Caribbean as it heads toward the US coast.
Forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center in Miami said today that a hurricane hunter aircraft measured maximum sustained winds of 155km/h.
The storm raked Puerto Rico with strong winds and rain. It is spinning just north of the Dominican Republic on a track that could carry it to the US Southeast as a major storm by the end of the week.
Irene, the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, is a large system and is forecast to grow into a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 184km/h over the Bahamas on Friday.
It could be that strong as it heads to the US coast. It could perhaps land in Florida, Georgia or South Carolina.