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News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Weds. Aug. 24, 2011: Watch out for a strengthening in Irene’s wrath today. The first hurricane of the 2011 season, now a category one, is forecast to strengthen to major hurricane status today, Aug. 24th.

Last night it was bearing down on the southeastern Bahamas with 90 mph wind. The storm was expected to move near or over the southeastern and central Bahamas last night and today and will be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Thursday.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern, central and northwestern Bahamas while a tropical storm warning is in effect for the north coast of Haiti, from Le Mole St. Nicholas eastward to the Dominican Republic border toward the northwest.

UN officials were busy preparing yesterday for a possible assault on Haiti.

The storm is producing rainfall accumulations of 1 to 3 inches across Puerto Rico and Hispaniola with isolated maximum storm total amounts of 15 inches possible.

Storm surge will also raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels over the central and northwestern Bahamas and by as much as 5 to 8 feet above normal tide levels over the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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