Hurricane Irene Strengthens, Pounds Puerto Rico, Threatens Haiti And United States

Irene reached hurricane strength early Monday — the first Atlantic hurricane this season — after “it began moving across Puerto Rico, pounding it with torrential rains and winds. Earlier, as a tropical storm, Irene downed trees and caused widespread power outages in the U.S. Virgin Islands as it churned just miles from St. Croix,” said Christine Lett, spokeswoman for the territory’s emergency management agency. “After moving over Puerto Rico, Irene was expected to approach Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Nearly 600,000 people in Haiti still live without shelter after last year’s earthquake.” Irene is expected to continue to strengthen as it moves over 90-degree waters toward the United States, either making landfall on Florida’s east coast or hitting the Carolinas as a Category 3 or stronger hurricane.

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