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Forecasters predict Hurricane Irene could hit NY region on Sunday

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irene Photo Credit: Getty Images

When it comes to natural disasters, the quake that shook New York on Tuesday was nothing compared to the hurricane — no joke — that could hit this weekend.

Hurricane Irene, which was churning toward the Bahamas on Tuesday and is headed for the East Coast, could hit the New York region by Sunday night, said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Mike Pigott.

The storm could grow to a Category 3 by the time it makes landfall in the Carolinas late Saturday.

It is expected to churn up the coast, and, Pigott said, could at worst be a Category 1 or 2 if it slams into New York – meaning winds between 74 and 110 mph.

The real problem, however, would be flooding.

“New York was saturated with rain last week, and any more rain could be a problem,” Pigott said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday the city would focus its emergency response efforts on the hurricane this weekend.

As opposed to the temblor, which caused no real damage in New York, "it’s much more likely if [a hurricane] strikes to create a situation where people could get injured or worse," Bloomberg said.

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