Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene forms; Florida in five-day forecast cone

Tropical Storm Irene has formed Saturday night east of the Leeward Islands and early indicators have Florida as a potential target late next week.

With maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, Irene’s center was 215 miles east-southeast of Guadeloupe at 7 p.m., according to a special advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as several other islands in the region. Hurricane conditions could occur in the Dominican Republic late Monday.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 120 miles from the center of circulation.

Any potential strike on Florida will hinge on Irene's trek through the Caribbean, and whether it stays south over water or crosses over land masses such as the mountainous Hispaniola.

Florida residents are advised to monitor Irene's track over the coming days.

Find more maps and particulars on Irene here.

Irene just right of center Saturday night.

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