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Irma pummels the Dominican Republic
Palm trees bend in Samana, Dominican Republic, on Thursday, as Irma roared off the northern coast of the island the country shares with Haiti. (Tatiana Fernandez/AP)

MONCION, Dominican Republic — Irma’s strong winds and torrential rains pummeled the Dominican Republic on Thursday, damaging homes and inundating streets in the beach towns on the north coast, according to local media reports.

Among the towns pounded by the storm were Cabarete and Sosua, part of the Puerto Plata region popular with foreign tourists.

More than 5,500 people in the country were evacuated in the run-up to the storm, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of deaths. But the director of the country’s Center of Emergency Operations, Juan Manuel Mendez, asked citizens Thursday to “not let down their guard” since “the worst isn’t over.”

Images on television showed how the fierce winds of the storm had punched holes in the windows of homes in Cabarete. In Nagua, a town in an agricultural area further to the east, broken branches and garbage had been hurled onto the boardwalk and streets near the beach, according to images on social media.

— Lindsay de Feliz

Hurricane Irma: Storm moves north after pounding Florida
Heavy winds and rain are seen in Miami on Sunday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Irma, the record-setting hurricane that devastated islands across the Caribbean, has been churning north through Florida — and has turned its sights on Georgia.

Visit the Capital Weather Gang’s live updates page for more on the storm.