Hurricane Irene Rips Through Puerto Rico, Eyes Southeast US

Hurricane Irene cut a destructive path through the Caribbean on Monday, slamming Puerto Rico with strong winds that uprooted trees and left more than a million without power before continuing on its path that experts say could carry it to the U.S. Southeast as a major storm by the end of the week.

Irene, currently a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, will most likely pick up steam and intensify to a Category 3 hurricane capable of generating damaging winds of up to 130 mph, according to a report by the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

“Residents of Florida and the southeastern U.S. should be keeping their eyes on this storm and have their hurricane supplies ready now,” says hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “No one wants to be standing in line at the hardware store when a storm hits.”

Although the center of the storm’s 500-mile-wide projected path is currently on track to skirt up the Florida coastline and hit South Carolina at 8 am EST on Saturday, Feltgen explains that it could change, and in the best case scenario, a low-pressure center could push the storm away from the coast late in the week.

To stay on top of Irene’s progress, head over to the Weather Channel’s official website or subscribe to their twitter feed @weatherchannel.

For raw footage of Hurricane Irene and the damage it caused in Puerto Rico, check out the following video provided by the AP.

Image: Weather Underground