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Hurricane Irene Gains Strength, May Impact US East Coast [Images]

Hurricane Irene seen from Space

The above image of Hurricane Irene was taken from the International Space Station by astronaut Ron Garan. It was captured on August 22, 2011, as the storm moved through the Caribbean.

Below is a NASA satellite image of the hurricane as it passed over Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Irene began as a tropical storm to the east of Leeward Islands on August 20 and has strengthened as it has moved north. According to ABC News, by August 22 Hurricane Irene had cut power to over a million residents of Puerto Rico.

According to NASA, the projections released by the National Hurricane Center on August 22 showed that Irene is heading for the United States, potentially making landfall in eastern North Corolina. Federal officials have warned that states along the coast should not to be complacent, as the hurricane could impact any state along the East Coast.

By Wednesday Irene had strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane, and according to a spokesperson from the NHC, the hurricane may get a little stronger yet.

Hurricane Irene in the Carribean

Image credits: NASA

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