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Tropical Storm Irene Forms In Caribbean

MIAMI, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Irene formed in the Caribbean Sea Saturday, prompting warnings for Puerto Rico and several other islands, U.S. forecasters said.

The storm, which was producing tropical force gales up to 120 miles from its center, could become a hurricane Monday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 7 p.m. EDT advisory.

Irene reared up east of the Leeward Islands, about 190 miles east of Dominica and 215 miles east-southeast of Guadeloupe, and was producing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

The hurricane center said in addition to Puerto Rico, tropical storm warnings had been issued in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maartin, Dominica, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Monserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

The hurricane center said Irene would hit the Leeward Islands early Sunday and move into the northeastern Caribbean later in the day. Hurricane conditions could develop in the Dominican Republic late Monday, the hurricane center said.

Irene was moving to the west at nearly 22 mph and was expected to turn to the west-northwest and slow down during the next 48 hours.

The Leeward Islands were told to expect 4-7 inches of rain, and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands up to 10 inches. Dangerous flash floods and mudslides are possible, the hurricane center said.

Storm surges were forecast to raise water levels 1-3 feet above normal and be accompanied by large, dangerous waves.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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