MIAMI (AP) -- Forecasters say Hurricane Irene that is taking aim at the East Coast could become a Category 4 monster by Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center late Wednesday said Irene is approaching the northwestern Bahamas as a Category 3 storm with winds at 120 mph (193 kph).
But forecasters say that could increase quickly over the next day.
Hurricane and tropical storm watches will likely be required for parts of the coast of the Carolinas by early Thursday.
Winds in Category 4 storms are more than 131 mph (210 mph).