Irene is now a tropical hurricane its arrival is imminent

It’s located at 180 km of Punta Cana

Tropical storm Irene became today a hurricane of Category 1 as it heads to Dominican Republic.

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 Monday on a path that could take it to the U.S. mainland by the end of the week.

The first hurricane of the Atlantic storm season posed an immediate threat to the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, though the center of the hurricane was expected to miss neighboring Haiti.

The country is on maximum alert for Hurricane Irene, which is expected to hit the eastern/north eastern shores of the Dominican Republic around midday.

Although the eastern coast and the Samaná peninsula are likely to feel strong effects in the shape of wind gusts and heavy rainfall, the current projection is for the storm to continue on a north-northwest course.

Government everything is ready, open shelters

The Dominican government announced Monday it was prepared to face the effects of the imminent passage through the country of the hurricane Irene and ordered the opening of 2,300 shelters and stored raw food for 1.5 million people.

Emergencies authorities also have 1.2 million cooked food rations and plentiful drinking water for displaced people. The authorities placed 21 provinces and the National District on high alert.

Also ordered the suspension of teaching in public schools and private and to initiate preventive evacuations in the provinces placed on red alert.

We have taken all the necessary precautions said government spokesman, Rafael Núñez.

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