Hurricane Irene Blasts Through Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic, Threatening U.S.

Hurricane Irene, which has already torn through the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, is reportedly now a threat to the United States. By this Thursday, the hurricane may become a Category 4 as it gets closer to the U.S. coast, posing a serious threat to the Carolinas, Florida and Georgia. Weather reports indicate it may hit land this weekend.

Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said the division wants to make sure Floridians are paying attention. “We are at the height of the hurricane season right now,” he said. “If it's not Hurricane Irene, it could be the follow-up storm that impacts us.” According to Huffington Post, though a hurricane center forecast map said the hurricane’s core could touch the shore in one of the states this weekend, some forecasters said much was still unclear. Wallace Hogsett, a meteorologist from the National Hurricane Center, said it is difficult to tell when Irene will turn northward. This is because, according to Hogsett, it is hard to measure how the high terrain of the island of Hispaniola, which the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti, will affect the hurricane.

Right now, Hurricane Irene is centered about 50 miles northeast of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. The Caribbean country experienced dangerous sea surge and downpours. The Atlantic hurricane also cut across Puerto Rico, knocking out power to more than a million people and tearing up trees. The damage to the island was so severe that President Obama declared a State of Emergency on the commonwealth island, which makes it eligible for federal help.