MIAMI (AP) -- Hurricane Irene has regained Category 2 strength with 100 mph (155 kph) winds as it heads toward the East Coast.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says additional strengthening is expected and Irene could become a major hurricane in the next day or so.
Early Wednesday, the hurricane is centered about 400 miles (650 kilometers) southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas and is moving west-northwest near 9 mph (15 kph).
In North Carolina, tourists on Ocracoke Island, which is accessible only by boat, have been told to evacuate ahead of the hurricane. It will be a test of whether people in the crosshairs of what could be the first monstrous storm in years along the East Coast will heed orders to get out of the way.