Irene is upgraded to Hurricane. NHC is now saying that the storm will only graze Hispanola, and minimal land interaction will result in unlikely disruption of the storm. They are calling for the storm to become major at some point:
"GIVEN THE IMPRESSIVE UPPER-LEVEL FLOW PATTERN EXPECTED ACROSS IRENE...IT WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME IF THIS CYCLONE BECAME A MAJOR HURRICANE AT SOME TIME DURING ITS LIFETIME LIKE THE GFDL AND HWRF MODELS ARE FORECASTING." (NHC Forecast Discussion)
Also, the 5:50 special update from NHC:
"PRELIMINARY REPORTS INDICATE THAT WIDESPREAD TREE AND POWERLINE DAMAGE HAS OCCURRED ON PUERTO RICO...AND MORE THAN 800 THOUSAND HOMES ARE WITHOUT POWER ON THE ISLAND.
ALSO...FAA DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR INDICATES WINDS TO NEAR MAJOR HURRICANE STRENGTH ARE NOW OCCURRING IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF THE INTERIOR MOUNTAINOUS REGIONS OF PUERTO RICO."
IR shows the storm slightly disrupted by Puerto Rico but still with overall good appearance, but with it reentering favorable water conditions, it should recover fairly quickly.
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