Tropical Storm Irene Heads Toward Puerto Rico

Posted August 21st, 2011 at 3:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is under a hurricane warning, as Tropical Storm Irene approaches from the east after dumping heavy rain on the Leeward Islands.

A hurricane watch has been declared for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Forecasters say Irene, with sustained winds of up to 85 kilometers per hour, could become a hurricane by Monday. It would be the first hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season.

At last report the storm was 300 kilometers east of Ponce, Puerto Rico, moving at 30 kilometers an hour.

The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with earthquake-ravaged Haiti, issued a hurricane warning for its southern coast. Haiti's tropical storm watch has been upgraded to a warning.

A “watch” means a storm is possible, while a “warning” indicates a storm is definitely expected.

Separately, Tropical Storm Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical depression after pounding Guatemala and eastern Mexico with heavy rain, prompting concerns about mudslides in the mountainous areas.