With winds holding steady at 115 mph, Category 3 strength Hurricane Irene has shown no signs of weakening as it moves towards the Bahamas. In fact, Irene continues to organize itself with the signs of a secondary eyewall forming. This feature is characteristic of many intense hurricanes. As the storm continues its northwest path it will encounter the warm waters of the Gulf Stream that are around 84 degrees Fahrenheit. These conditions will continue to provide the energy necessary to Irene to intensify. The National Hurricane Center predicts Irene will likely become a Category 4 storm within the next 48 hours.
Hurricane Irene's evolution from tropical wave to Category 3 storm is shown here in time-lapse imagery from the GOES-East satellite starting on August 19th and ending at 1715z on August 24, 2011.