Hurricane Irene Pounds Bahamas; Water Could Reach 10 Feet Above Normal Tide Levels

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Hurricane Irene, the much-anticipated Category 3 storm, was currently "pounding the northwestern Bahamas," the National Hurricane Center said. No deaths or injuries have been reported at this time.

An extremely dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as seven to 10 feet above normal tide levels over The Bahamas. The surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves. Irene is expected to produce rainfall accumulations between six to 12 inches over The Bahamas over the next 36 hours.

The Government of the Bahamas has discontinued the hurricane warning for the southeastern Bahamas. The core of the hurricane will continue to move over the northwestern Bahamas today and pass well offshore of the east coast of central and north Florida tonight and early Friday.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the official reporting site in Nassau recently reported a wind gust of 62 mph, while an unofficial reporting station reported a wind gust of 100 mph.

CNN reported that officials in The Bahamas reported power outages, impassable roads, and flooding in some spots. In the capital, Nassau, businesses boarded up windows as tourists flocked to the airport and cruise ships pulled out of port ahead of Irene's arrival, CNN reported. Other islands in The Bahamas have reported dozens of damaged homes, schools and churches.

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