Hurricane Irene Update

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Hurricane Irene began as only a Category 1 hurricane blowing off some roofs and power lines through the Turks and Caicos Islands on late Tuesday.

District commissioner for South Caicos island said, “It’s not as bad as I thought it would have been, so I am thankful for that.  No death or injuries have been reported, the main concern now is that heavy rains could lead to flooding.”

Irene also hit Puerto Rico and caused heavy flooding affecting several neighborhoods.  Governor Luis Fortuno reported landslides and 765 people stranded in shelters.  Police reported the death of a 62-year-old woman caused by attempting to cross a flooded river in her car near the capital of San Juan.

Tens of thousands of people remain without power in the U.S. Caribbean territory.

In the Dominican Republic, flooding has stranded at least 85 communities and evacuated 32,000 people.  Emergency crews were given the task to rescue families with flooded homes caused by the river of San Cristobal.

Irene was declared a Category 3 hurricane as it was approaching southeast of Nassau, Bahamas.  Some tourists were able to catch planes out of the Bahamas while others remained with the residents and prepared for Hurricane Irene to hit.

As the storm crossed southern Mayaguana Island it caused some damage to the infrastructure of the island.  On Crooked Island, Irene did similar damage.

Irene is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane by Thursday as it passes over the northwestern Bahamas and is expected to hit the eastern U.S. coast.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency or National Hurricane Center have been warning residents of Ocracoke Island, a piece of land off North Carolina’s coasts to evacuate in anticipation of the impending Hurricane Irene destruction.

Mandatory evacuations by ferry began at 5:30 a.m. to about 800 residents.  FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate urges residents to get prepared, “I’ve never heard of a minor hurricane.  We are now starting to see calls for action.  They still have time to prepare but that time will run out.” he said.

A hurricane of this magnitude has not hit the U.S. since 2004, when Hurricane Jeanne reached Florida’s east coast.  “Irene is forecast to remain a large and powerful hurricane during the next 5 days,” the National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory warned.

Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Flickr

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