Irene Eyes Turks & Caicos, Bahamas – Update

News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Tues. Aug. 23, 2011, 9 a.m.: Hurricane Irene now has the Turks & Caicos Islands and the Bahamas in its sight after lashing Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic early this morning.

The National Hurricane Center latest update shows the Core of Irene is headed toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas, which are expected to feel the storm’s fury by this evening.

The storm could become a Category 3, also known as a major hurricane, later today or on Wednesday, forecasters said as it churned about 70 mi south, south east of the Grand Turk Island.

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico late Monday, after the storm roared through earlier in the day, leaving widespread damage.

In Puerto Rico, about 600,000 of the island’s 1 million electricity customers were without power, Gov. Luis Fortuno said Monday. Nearly 800 people were in shelters, but no injuries had been reported.