Monday, 22 August 2011

Hurricane Irene becomes first hurricane of the Atlantic in 2011

It could, perhaps, be said that hurricane season has offically begun with the first hurricane of the year forming over the Atlantic. Hurricane Irene is currently heading towards the Dominican Republic and the east coast of America, after hitting Puerto Rico earlier today.

So far, the hurricane has sustained winds of 80mph, accompanied by torrential rain. Many in Puerto Rico's capital had to seek emergency shelter ahead of the storm. The islands main airport was overwhelmed with people trying to get off the island before Irene hit earlier today and, due to flight cancellations, many holiday makers have been left stranded. It also cut power to more than a million people, flooded the streets and brought down trees. As of yet, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported but a state of emergeency has been declared warning people to stay indoors.

However, the biggest threat currently seems to lie on the island on Hispaniola (the island shared between Haiti and the Dominican Republic), as, thanks to last year's earthquake, 600,000 people still live without shelter and, due to the deforestation that has occured, the area to more prone to flooding and landslides. As a result, the Dominican Republic has a hurricane warning in effect, with a hurricane watch in effect in northern Haiti and the Bahamas. It is expected that latter in the week Irene may hit Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in the US.

Hurricane Irene strengthens as it swirls over the Caribbean

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