Tropical Storm Fiona nearing hurricane strength
Residents in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are bracing for torrential rains and mudslides as Tropical Storm Fiona is moving toward the west-northwest near at a speed of 13 km/h or eight mph.
In its latest update issued at 8am (local time), the Miami based National Hurricane centre said a hurricane warning has been issued for Puerto Rico and sections of the Dominican Republic.
On the forecast track, the center of Fiona will approach Puerto Rico on Sunday morning, and move near or over the island in the afternoon or evening.
Fiona will then move near the northern coast of the Dominican Republic on Sunday night and Monday, and near or to the east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph or 110 km/h with higher gusts.
The NHC says additional strengthening is forecast, and Fiona is expected to become a hurricane before reaching the southern or southwestern coast of Puerto Rico on Sunday evening.
The storm is then expected to strengthen on Monday and Tuesday while Fiona moves near the Dominican Republic and over the southwestern Atlantic.
Hurricane conditions are also possible in the U.S. Virgin Islands, while tropical storm conditions have been reported in sections of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands
The NHC is predicting that rains will produce life-threatening flash flooding and urban flooding across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic along with mudslides and landslides in areas of higher terrain.
Meanwhile, a Hurricane Watch is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands and the north coast of the Dominican Republic, while a tropical storm warning is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas.
The storm has already led to one death in the French territory of Guadeloupe when a man was washed away in the torrential rains.