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Irene nearing hurricane status as Harvey weakens

MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Irene began lashing the northern Leeward Islands with heavy rains and squalls late early Sunday and could become a hurricane within a day, the National Hurricane Center said.

The Miami center said early Sunday that Irene was 10 miles (15 kilometers) northeast of Guadeloupe at 5 a.m. EDT, had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and was moving westward at 21 mph (33 kph).

A hurricane warning was issued for the Dominican Republic’s southern coast from Cabo Engano west to the border with Haiti. A tropical storm warning was issued for much of the Dominican’s northern coast.

Besides Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, tropical storm warnings also have been issued for all of Haiti, Vieques, Culebra, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maartin, Dominica, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Anguilla and Montserrat.

Also Sunday, former tropical storm Harvey trekked westward across southeastern Mexico as it dumped heavy rains. Recently downgraded to a tropical depression, Harvey was located at 5 a.m. EDT about 60 miles (95 kilimeters) east-southeast of Villahermosa, Mexico.

Forecasters said there were no coastal watches or warnings in effect for Harvey, which had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) as it moved westward at 15 mph (24 kph).

The center said Harvey was forecast to weaken and dissipate over southern Mexico by early Monday but still produce total rainfall of 3 to 6 inches across Guatemala and southweatern Mexico.

The center said isolated amounts of to 10 inches of rainfall were possible with a risk of life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, particularly over higher terrain.

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