BEHIND THE STORM:
— IRENE HITS BAHAMAS — A large and powerful Hurricane Irene roared across the Bahamas on Wednesday, pummeling the country's smaller, less-populated islands while posing less of a threat to the capital, a major tourist destination with 200,000 residents.
— CARIBBEAN DAMAGE — The narrow Cat Island in the southeastern Bahamas took the full force of Irene at its most powerful, whipped by winds that exceeded 120 mph. The exact extent of damage in the island chain was still being tallied, but preliminary reports indicated hundreds of homes were damaged, police said. There were no deaths or major injuries.
— NHC WARNING — The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami warned Thursday that an "extremely dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels over the Bahamas."
— FLORIDA INJURIES — Eight people were injured in rough waters caused by Irene in South Florida.
AHEAD OF THE STORM:
— EVACUATIONS — North Carolina's Carteret County orders evacuations for visitors, Outer Banks residents as Irene is very near. Ocean City, Md. orders thousands to evacuate. New York City mayor orders unprecedented mandatory evacuations for residents in low-lying coastal areas as well as at some hospitals and nursing homes.
— TRANSPORTATION — New York City orders buses, planes and its entire subway system to be shut down as Irene marches up the East Coast. Hundreds of thousands of airline passengers will be grounded this weekend at some of the nation's busiest airports.
— HURRICANE WARNINGS — Hurricane warnings have been issued for North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
— OBAMA DECLARES EMERGENCY — President Barack Obama has declared emergencies for North Carolina and New York ahead of Irene.
— NAVY WARSHIPS — U.S. Navy orders ships in big Virginia base to sail for safer waters ahead of Irene.