MIAMI (AP) - Hurricane watches are out from North Carolina to New Jersey ahead of powerful Irene that is still battering islands in Bahamas before heading to the East Coast.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center Thursday afternoon also issued the first warnings for the entire North Carolina coast to the Virginia border.
One is also out for the coast of South Carolina from Edisto Beach north.
Maximum sustained winds for Category 3 Irene are still at 115 mph (185 kph) but forecasters expect it to gather strength as it hits the warm Atlantic waters.
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