Irene Gains Strength

Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 9:36am

Hurricane Irene bears down on the Atlantic Seaboard.

With winds over a hundred miles an hour Irene ripped through the Bahamas, strengthening, and spreading destruction.

The powerful storm is expected to take a turn to the north today, targeting the East Coast of the U.S. It is already spurring mandatory evacuations in parts of North Carolina. "It would be crazy to stay and drive through that, so we're gonna go a day early," said Andy Torrington.

"I'm originally from Louisiana, so I know all about hurricanes, and you don't mess with them, so. I hope other people don't hang around, because it can get bad quickly," said another beachgoer.

Forecasters worry that it could get bad along a big stretch of the coast with tens of millions potentially in its path. "A lot of our focus is in the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic all the way up to New England based on this track," said FEMA Director Craig Fugate

And so from New York City to New England, residents are also getting ready for the possibility of a hurricane this weekend. "You can't escape the fact that they are going to come. Eventually, even if it's not this one, it will be one someday," but this one, Irene has the potential to be the worst here in years.

Kristen Dahlgren, NBC News

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