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Hurricane Irene gains ferocity as it heads for U.S.

August 22, 2011 | 11:35 am

Hurrican_Irene_path

With Hurricane Irene showing the potential to become a major hurricane -- the storm is currently pounding Puerto Rico and appears bound for Florida -- a fleet of new cellphone apps will help keep people apprised of all its fury.

Irene was upgraded from a tropical storm to full-fledged hurricane status over the weekend, a status  evidenced by the damage being done in Puerto Rico. Rivers are rising past their banks. Half the island is without electricity. And many people are without water as they hunker down to wait out the storm -- and  winds that have reached 80 mph. There have been 10 inches of rainfall so far, but no immediate reports of injury or death.

Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño held a press conference this morning to urge people to remain inside, according to the Miami Herald. "Generally when you have injuries and loss of life, it's after a hurricane. So, please, if you have no reason to leave your house, please don't leave," Fortuño said. "We have fallen trees, landslides and fallen power lines all over the country -– and it's still raining. We have to be very careful."

It's unclear if -- or when -- Hurricane Irene might hit the East Coast, but residents from Florida to the Carolinas are urged to keep an eye on the weather. 

And yes, there's an app for that.

Here's a guide to weather apps for cellphones and tablets from ABC.com. Some are pretty pricey. Imap Weather Radio costs $9.99. Right now, it only works on Apple devices but has some interesting features including tracking for up to five locations (helpful if you're trying to travel out of harm's way ... without driving into harm's way) and its own warning system.

Others, like this one from the Weather Channel, are free and available across all platforms.

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--Rene Lynch
On Twitter @renelynch

Photo: Satellite image of Hurricane Irene as it moves across Puerto Rico and toward the United States. Credit: NOAA via Getty Images

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