Hurricane Irene Slams Puerto Rico

Next stop: Hispaniola
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 22, 2011 9:51 AM CDT
This satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Hurricane Irene as it moves across Puerto Rico towards Hispaniola August 22, 2011 in the Caribbean Sea.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Hurricane Irene cut power to more than a million people in Puerto Rico, downing trees and flooding streets, before heading out over warm ocean water today on a path that could take it to the US mainland by the end of the week. There were no reports of deaths or major injuries in Puerto Rico, but Gov. Luis Fortuno declared a state of emergency and urged people to stay indoors to avoid downed power lines, flooded streets, and other hazards.

"This isn't the time to go out to find out what happened ... This is the time stay in your homes," Fortuno said at a news conference. The storm, which had maximum sustained winds of about 80mph, poses an immediate threat to the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, though the center of the hurricane was expected to miss neighboring Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola. "We don't expect to this to get ripped up over the mountains of Hispaniola," a spokesman for the US National Hurricane Center said. "We expect it to remain a hurricane."

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