(Entrada de blog en español / Spanish blog post)
Tropical storm Irene is currently churning in the Atlantic, where forecasters from the National Hurricane Center are expecting tropical storm conditions to begin in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands this afternoon. We continue to closely monitor the storm through our regional offices in New York, N.Y., and Atlanta, Ga., as well as through our Caribbean Area Office located in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
We have positioned Incident Management Assistance Teams in both the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and they are in close contact and coordination with both the U.S. Virgin Islands Territory Emergency Management Agency and the Puerto Rico emergency management agency (en espanol).
As of 1 p.m. EDT:
- A hurricane warning has been issued for Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra - A hurricane warning means sustained winds of 74 mph or greater are expected within the specified area in the next 36 hours.
- A hurricane watch has been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands – A hurricane watch means sustained winds of 74 mph or greater are possible within the specified area in the next 48 hours.
- A tropical storm warning has been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands - A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours.
What you can do
Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center predict Irene will approach Puerto Rico tonight and potentially affect Florida later this week. Tropical storms and hurricanes cause high winds and heavy rains, increasing the risk of flooding and flash flooding, along with wind damage. If you're in south Florida, now is the time to get prepared.
If you’re in the potentially affected area, here are a few tips to stay safe:
- Monitor weather conditions and listen to the direction of local and territory officials, which for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico could include sheltering in place. Stay informed through local news reports, and make sure you have a hand-powered radio as part of your emergency kit,
- If local officials give the order to evacuate, be sure to know your evacuation route,
- Know what supplies you and your family will need to shelter in place, if that is the advice given by local officials, and
- Find tips for getting prepared for a tropical storm or hurricane at Ready.gov/hurricanes.
Be sure to visit www.hurricanes.gov for the latest forecast information from the National Hurricane Center. We will continue to provide updates on this blog as well.
- Follow the National Hurricane Center on Twitter and Facebook
- Follow the Virgin Islands Emergency Management Agency on Twitter and Facebook