At 8 AM on Monday, August 22, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated for Hurricane Irene -- the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season -- currently a Category 1 storm. HWN members are monitoring 14.325 MHz in support of WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC). In advance of the storm’s approach, the Bahamian government has issued a hurricane warning for the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas.
As of 11 AM (EDT) on Monday, August 22, Irene is located about 105 miles west-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico and about 70 miles east-northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; it is moving west-northwest at 13 MPH, with maximum sustained winds near 80 MPH with higher gusts. According to the NHC, Hurricane Irene is expected to strengthen in the next 48 hours.
As the storm approached Puerto Rico on Sunday, the NHC issued a hurricane warning for the area, now downgraded to a tropical storm warning. Hurricane Irene hit Puerto Rico, causing power outages throughout the island. More than 1 million are still without power on Monday morning. As of 11 AM (EDT) Monday, August 22, hurricane warnings are in effect for the north coast of the Dominican Republic, from the Haiti border eastward to Cabo Engano. A hurricane watch is in effect for the Central Bahamas and the north coast of Haiti from Le Mole St Nicholas eastward to the Dominican Republic border. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Haiti, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra, and the south coast of the Dominican Republic, from south of Cabo Engano westward to the Haiti border.
Hurricane Irene could cause heavy rain, flooding and mudslides in the Caribbean, hitting Puerto Rico on Monday and moving on to Hispanola later that day or Tuesday, August 23. The storm is expected to then track through parts of the Bahamas from late Tuesday night through early Friday morning. Forecasters are calling for the hurricane to reach South Florida as soon as Thursday, August 25 and move up the coast into Georgia and the Carolinas by Friday or Saturday.