This GOES satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irene, with sustained winds of 100 mph, becomes a Category 2 hurricane August 23, 2011 in the Caribbean Sea.
Officials in New York and New Jersey are urging residents to be prepared for the hurricane headed toward the East Coast.
Hurricane Irene has already raked the Caribbean and is projected to make landfall in North Carolina by Saturday then travel up the coast. The path of the storm is still uncertain, however.
"Everybody should keep an eye on the storm and pay attention to the Office of Emergency Management," New York City Mayor Bloomberg said at a press conference Tuesday. "And if this one doesn't hit us, the likelihood of others is very great. We'll likely get a few storms for sure here."
In New Jersey, the state Office of Emergency Management says evacuations would be likely in communities along the Jersey shore due to tidal and storm surge flooding if the storm reaches New Jersey near hurricane strength.
State Police spokesman Stephen Jones says shore residents should make sure emergency supply kits for their home and cars are fully stocked.
He says residents should have a plan in place in case of an evacuation order and should stay informed about the threat from the storm.