Irene becomes first hurricane of Atlantic 2011 season

| 22/08/2011

CNS): The ninth tropical storm of the season became its first hurricane at around 4am local time on Sunday morning off the north coast of Puerto Rico. Irene emerged as a tropical storm on Saturday afternoon around 190 miles east of Dominica and at the time forecasters from the NHC had Cayman Brac in the storms sights. Since then however forecasters have altered the predicated path of Hurricane Irene across the northern coastlines of Hispaniola and Cuba then heading towards Florida. At 6am local time the storm was around 55 miles WNW of San Juan headed for the Dominican Republic at around 14mph.

The National Hurricane Centre reports that the hurricane is packing winds of 75mph making it a category one and forecasters predict more strengthening. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend around 150 miles mainly northwest and northeast of the centre.

The Cayman Islands weather service confirmed that the season’s first hurricane poses no immediate threat to the Cayman Islands. However, it will continue to monitor Irene as it moves across the North-eastern Caribbean.

Today’s local weather calls for partly sunny skies with a 20% chance of afternoon showers and possible thunder.  Temperatures will rise to the low 90’s with a heat index of 117 degrees Fahrenheit. Winds will be east to northeast 5 to 10 knots. Seas will be slight with wave heights of 1 to 3 feet. Tonight there will be few clouds with less than a 20% chance of showers and possible thunder. Temperatures will fall to the low 80’s.  Winds will be east to northeast 5 to 10. Seas will be slight with wave heights of 1 to 3 feet.

The outlook is for generally fair conditions with light winds backing towards the north by Tuesday afternoon becoming north-westerly by Wednesday morning.

Monitor the hurricane on the NHC website here

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