The National Hurricane Center recently upgraded Irene to hurricane status as the storm heads toward the cruise hub of Puerto Rico after pelting St. Croix with heavy winds and rain.
If you remember from the When is hurricane season page in the Hurricane Travel Resource Center, a tropical storm becomes a hurricane when sustained winds reach 74 miles per hour or higher. According to the National Hurricane Center, Irene reached maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour and is headed for the Southeastern Bahamas.
A number of cruise ships have altered their itineraries to avoid the storm. A state of emergency has been imposed in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Other eastern islands, such as Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Maarten are also affected.
Now that the storm is named, it’s a known event, so coverage for travel-related problems related to this particular storm must have been in effect prior to August 21, 2011. You can purchase travel insurance protection for upcoming travel plans, but coverage for Hurricane Irene must already be in effect.