ST. JOHNíS, Antigua, CMC - Tropical Storm Irene was barreling through the Caribbean Sunday on a track which is expected to take it past Puerto Ricoís southern coast early on Monday. The storm is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it approaches the Dominican Republic.
Earlier Irene whipped the northern Leeward Islands with rain and squalls forcing the authorities to shut down airports in Antigua, St. Kitts and the British Virgin Islands.
At 11:00am the centre of Tropical Storm Irene was located about 375 kilometres east southeast of Ponce, Puerto Rico with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometres per hour.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin this afternoon in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico; and the Dominican Republic early Monday. Hurricane conditions are expected over Puerto Rico tonight and over the Dominican Republic on Monday.