Powerful Hurricane Irene Threatens Atlantic Coast

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Hurricane Irene is now a Category 2 storm and is set to batter Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas, following a direct hit of Puerto Rico. It is expected to reach somewhere along the U.S. coast by Friday, and by that time it is expected to be a powerful Category 4 hurricane.

"Irene is forecast to become a larger than average hurricane," the Miami-based Hurricane Center said.

If the projections are correct and Irene does reach the mainland, it would be the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Ike battered the Texas coast in 2008, reports Reuters.

The latest path has it on track to hit near somewhere around the Carolinas. However some forecast models have it hitting as far north as New York City. The Washington Post reports that the storm could hug the east coast rather than turn inland upon landfall.

The Associated Press has more: