Donde Esta Irene?
As of 5 pm Hurricane Irene is just north of the Dominican Republic and continuing in a West by NorthWest direction on its way to the Bahamas where it looks like she is going to head right down the middle of the islands. The center of the storm is currently about 65 miles north/ northwest of Punta Cana which seemed to be spared the worst of the hurricane as it traveled north of the city.
Hurricane Irene continues to have maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and is moving at about 13 mph.
With Irene on what seems to be on a direct path to the Bahamas the Government of the Bahamas has issued a hurricane warning for the central Bahamas and a hurricane watch for the Northwestern Bahama.
Hurricane Irene isn’t finished with the DR though. Wind and rain are continuing to pick up in the central portions of the country where I am located. At this point I have no word on how hard the northern coast is being hit, but the hurricane is expected to pass along the northern coast with the possibility of sever damage to the coastal cities along it’s path.
Along with the major tourist locations like Puerto Plata and Sosua there are many smaller coastal towns that are likely feeling the effect of this storm which is expected to grow in intensity as the night goes on.
Along with the raise in the water level along the coast of as much as 2-4 feet above normal tide levels rainfall amounts of 3-6 inches are expected to fall with the possibility of reaching 10 inches in isolated areas. This large amount of rain can cause flash flooding and mud slides.
Irene is delivering hurricane force winds as much as 30 miles from it’s center and tropical storm force winds as far as 185 miles from its center. With this in mind even areas that do not receive the full strength of the storm will still be battling strong winds and heavy rains. Anyone traveling on the island of Hispaniola should be prepared as Irene passes by.
Hurricane Irene is still a category 1 hurricane but is expected to increase in strength and could reach near major hurricane strength by the time it reaches the central Bahamas.