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RMS : Irene has developed to hurricane status

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According to the NHC the centre of Irene was located close around 25 miles west of the Puerto Rico capital San Juan. The NHC reported that at this time Irene had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, the equivalent to a ‘weak’ Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, and was moving quickly to the west-northwest at 12 mph. 

The centre of the Irene is forecast to continue to track across Puerto Rico, before passing near or over the northern coastal region of the Dominican Republic. Under this track, the large windfield of the system would bring tropical storm winds across Puerto Rico and to much of Hispaniola. Under the NHC’s most recent forecast, Irene is expected to pass over the southwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands before tracking to the east of Andros Island in The Bahamas. The NHC extended forecast calls for Irene to approach southern Florida late Thursday, early Friday, before tracking parallel to the eastern coast of Florida and making landfall near the Florida/Georgia border over the weekend, but there is considerable uncertainty with the extended forecast at this stage, which is reflected in model track guidance.

 “Irene is expected to remain at hurricane strength as it tracks through the Caribbean with some strengthening forecast as it passes over the waters between The Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas where surface water temperatures are running between 29 to 30C,” said Emily Paterson, associate cat response manager at RMS. “The extended forecast sees Irene strengthen further as it passes southern Florida, though the uncertainty associated with the extended forecasts is high at this time.”

Irene is expected to bring heavy rain to Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, The Virgin Islands, southeastern Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands. The NHC is predicting total rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches, with isolated maximum amounts up to 20 inches rains which could cause life threatening flash floods and mud slides in areas of steep terrain. Tides around the Dominican Republic are expected to see limited rise in association with Irene.

Source : RMS Press Release