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Hurricane Irene hammers the Bahamas

06:51am | Thu, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene has been hammering the Bahamas as it moves towards the United States on a projected track to hug the east coast.

The first hurricane of the Atlantic season is a Category 3 storm with winds of 185 kilmoetres or 115 miles per hour and is expected to strengthen. 

Irene, which is set to pass over the Bahamas archipelago during the course of the day Thursday, August 25, has caused damage but so far no casualties have been reported.          

Irene is located 130 kilometres or 80 miles east south-east of Nassau and is expected to strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane as it heads towards the US east coast this weekend.

The US National Hurricane Centre has warned of an extremely dangerous storm surge.

Forecasters predict Irene will strike North Carolina's Outer Banks region on Saturday afternoon.

Earlier Thursday morning, August 25, the eye of the storm was moving between Rum Cay and Long Island in the Bahamas.