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Irene strengthens into Category 2 hurricane

MIAMI (Reuters) - Hurricane Irene strengthened into a Category 2 storm as it moved near the northern coast of the Dominican Republic on Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

MIAMI (Reuters) - Hurricane Irene strengthened into a Category 2 storm as it moved near the northern coast of the Dominican Republic on Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Irene had top winds of 100 miles per hour (155 km per hour) and was 130 miles east of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. It was moving west-northwest and was expected to strengthen further into a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale before hitting the southeast U.S. Coast by the weekend, the forecasters said.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton, Editing by Sandra Maler)

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