From the ABC 7 Weather team

Hurricane Irene's path: Forecasting a mammoth storm (PHOTOS)

August 23, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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Hurricane Irene could visit the East Coast by late this week. See where it's been and where it's headed in these incredible images from NASA, NOAA and the U.S. military.

The 'cone of probability' shows the projected path for Hurricane Irene on Friday night.10 Photos
(Photo: National Hurricane Center, NASA, NOAA)

In the above photo gallery you'll find a nice mix of satellite photos and forecast maps for Hurricane Irene, the first major cyclone of 2011's Atlantic hurricane season. Irene became a Category 2 storm late Monday and is expected to strengthen possibly into a "major" hurricane as it tracks over the Bahamas today.

The cyclone could visit Florida as soon as Thursday, although it's important to note that it could also stay safely out at sea. Predicting this far in advance is difficult, and the expected path has already changed substantially since the weekend, as you can see in this animation. Here are the latest predictions from the National Hurricane Center.

My favorite image in this gallery: Did you know that the U.S. military operates a device that automatically classifies clouds by their type? That's delightful and a little scary at the same time. Absorb these different views of Irene, and let's hope they're the most that Easter Coasters will be seeing of this tropical monster.

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