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Tropical Storm Irene forms in the eastern Caribbean

Trpoical storm Irene could take aim at Southern Florida next week.

Warnings issued for Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands

By Summit Voice

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SUMMIT COUNTY — A depression just east of the Lesser Antilles quickly strengthened Saturday afternoon to become Tropical Storm Irene, the ninth named storm of the season. Irene has already spurred tropical storm warnings in parts of the eastern Caribbean and could reach hurricane strength in the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Atmospheric circulation around a large mid-level ridge is expected to steer the storm west-northwest the next two or three days, with most models showing a track toward Hispaniola and south of Puerto Rico. Depending on its exact path, Irene could weaken as it runs into the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola, or strengthen if it stays south of the islands over open water, according to the NHC forecast discussion.

Either way, the long-term path is not clear as a trough of low pressure sweeping down from the U.S. is expected to affect the storm, but it’s not clear how far south it will be pushed. It it remains at hurricane strength, Irene could swing northward and become a threat to the Keys and southern Florida. Or, the storm could track west into the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vieque and Culebra. The government of Curacao has issued tropical storm warnings for Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maartin. Tropical storm warnings have also been hoisted for St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

Some of these areas could see tropical-storm force winds Saturday night and into Sunday, along with heavy rainfall totaling 4 to 7 inches in the Leeward Islands and isolated rainfall amounts of up to 10 inches across some of the mountainous areas, where life-threatening flash floods and mud slides are possible.

A storm surge could raise water levels by 1 to 3 feet above normal tides, along with dangerous surf and rip currents.

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3 Responses

  1. Please God bring it to Texas!

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