Man walking in the hurricane in the Bahamas
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Irene is 'once in a generation storm'

The east coast of America is bracing itself for the onslaught of Hurricane Irene, which has already swept across the Bahamas and the Caribbean, destroying homes and bringing down power lines.

The storm, which has been gathering pace with winds of more than a hundred miles an hour, is expected to hit the East coast by the weekend.

A state of emergency has now been declared in five American states.

John Cangialosi from the National Hurricane Centre in Florida, told the BBC the storm was "what we call a once in a generation type hurricane".