Strengthening Irene slams Puerto Rico -

Strengthening Irene slams Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Tropical Storm Irene has begun moving across Puerto Rico, pounding the U.S. Caribbean territory with torrential rains and winds as forecasters warn it could turn into a hurricane.

The fast-changing storm earlier downed trees and caused widespread power outages in the U.S. Virgin Islands as it churned just miles (kilometers) from St. Croix.

Krizia Negron, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan, said forecasters earlier said Irene was likely to pass south of Puerto Rico, but the storm shifted north and was passing directly over the island.

Early Monday, the storm was moving west-northwest at roughly 15 mph (24 kph) with gusts higher than 70 mph (110 kph). Irene's center was about 10 miles (20 kilometers) southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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