MIAMI – Emergency services in south-eastern United States closely monitored the path of Hurricane Irene on Tuesday, the first hurricane to a serious threat in three years. The storm has already caused damage in the Caribbean.
Forecasters predict the hurricane could reach Category 4 with winds of over 211km / h before its arrival in the U.S. this weekend. According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, category 3 should be reached on Tuesday.
The first hurricane of the season in the Atlantic showed winds of about 160km / h early Tuesday. It was about 90km from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and was moving west / northwest at near 17km / h.
Irene has already crossed Puerto Rico, uprooting trees and cutting power to more than one million people. President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency, which will allow the country to receive federal assistance.
The storm then headed for the sea, north of the Dominican Republic, where hundreds of people were displaced by the floods, forced to seek refuge in churches, schools or with relatives. Electricity was also cut in several areas.
The UN has also placed on alert its agencies in Haiti due to flooding and mudslides.
In 2008, Hurricane Ike was the last hurricane to hit the United States.