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Tropical Storm Irene approaches Leeward Islands; warnings issued for Puerto Rico, Virgin Isl.
MIAMI (AP) ' Tropical Storm Irene is moving toward the Leeward Islands and the Caribbean Sea, with forecasters issuing warnings for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and numerous other islands.
The National Hurricane Center reported late Saturday that the storm is about 150 miles (241 kilometers) east of the Caribbean island of Dominica, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph). It was moving west at 22 mph (35 kph).
In addition to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, tropical storm warnings have been issued for Vieques, Culebra, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maartin, Dominica, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Anguilla and Montserrat.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for the south coast of the Dominican Republic, from the Haiti border to Cabo Engano.
Forecasters said Irene would pass through the Leeward Islands early Sunday and then move into the northeastern Caribbean Sea. It is expected Sunday afternoon to bring tropical storm conditions, including 4 to 7 inches of rain, to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Hurricane conditions are possible over the Dominican Republic by late Monday.