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9199: Tropical Storm Threatens Haiti (fwd)
Tropical Storm Threatens Haiti
.c The Associated Press
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) - Tropical Storm Iris formed Friday in
the eastern Caribbean and gained strength as it churned toward the Dominican
Republic and Haiti, threatening to become a hurricane.
``The storm continues to get better organized,'' said Stacy Stewart, a
specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. ``It's strengthening
fairly significantly and could become a hurricane as early as Saturday
Haiti posted a hurricane warning for all its south coast. The Dominican
Republic issued a hurricane warning for southwest coastal areas near the
Haitian border and a tropical storm warning for the rest of its southern
coastline. Jamaica posted a tropical storm watch.
At 8 p.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Iris was 240 miles southeast of Santo Domingo,
moving north-northwest at 18 mph carrying maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.
Tropical storm force winds extended 105 miles from the storm center.
Iris is expected Saturday to pass just south of Hispaniola, the island shared
by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. ``The winds still might brush the
coastal areas,'' Stewart warned.
He said the storm would likely continue veering northwest and pass between
the western tip of Haiti and Jamaica on Sunday.
Along Puerto Rico's south coast, wind gusts linked to the storm could reach
39 mph, forecasters said. A wind advisory was issued for the U.S. Virgin
Islands and Puerto Rico.
Tropical depressions become named tropical storms once sustained winds reach
39 mph, hurricanes when top winds reach 74 mph.
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