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Sun Sep 2, 2007 5:23 PM EDT
Forecasters at the Miami-based hurricane center said the storm was strengthening at one of the fastest rates seen, as measured by the drop in its minimum internal pressure.
It would be passing over a warm eddy of water in the central Caribbean, finding in it the fuel needed to intensify further within 36 hours into a rare and potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane with winds over 155 mph (249 kph).
"The official intensity forecast could be conservative and there is certainly the potential for us to have another Category Five hurricane on our hands before all is said and done," said hurricane center storm expert Richard Pasch.