Hurricane Irene Could Hit US Thursday

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The first hurricane of the Atlantic season is expected to hit southern Florida by Thursday and could also clip Georgia and the Carolinas.

The storm, named Irene, reached hurricane strength in the Caribbean with 70 mile-per-hour winds early Monday morning. It hammered Puerto Rico with torrential rains and winds, flooding streets and leaving more than a million Puerto Ricans without power. There were no reports of any deaths.

Remnants of Irene were expected to continue lashing the island most of Monday, said Jose Alamo, a U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist in San Juan.

Click here follow the latest track of Irene from the National Hurricane Center. Also click play for more storm information from Weather Bell meteorologist Joe Bastardi.

"We're still receiving rain and some wind associated with the system but it should start to get better as the day goes on," Alamo said.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the main impediment to the storm's progress over the next couple of days will be interaction with land. If Irene passes over Hispaniola's mountains or over parts of eastern Cuba, the storm could weaken more than currently expected.

Stay up to date with the latest bulletins, advisories, etc. on Hurricane Irene by clicking here.

"However, if the system ends up moving to the north of both of those land masses it could strengthen more than expected," wrote forecaster Richard Pasch.

Hurricane Irene was moving west-northwest away from Puerto Rico at roughly 14 mph with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph.

Irene's center was about 55 miles west-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

After moving over Puerto Rico, Irene was expected to approach Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Nearly 600,000 people in Haiti still live without shelter after last year's earthquake.

Over the weekend, the storm pounded the U.S. Virgin Islands downing trees, and knocking out power.

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