Hurricane Irene has pounded Puerto Rico with high winds and heavy rain and is on track to skim north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. This track, according to the National Hurricane Center, is likely to allow Irene to strengthen rapidly. The current projected path takes the storm over the Bahamas and close to Florida’s east coast, though authorities warn that small changes in the track can make for large changes in potential landfall later. Hurricane warnings are up for the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas. Hurricane Irene is the Atlantic basin’s first hurricane of the 2011 season.