- Tropical Storm Fiona is moving through the northeastern Caribbean.
- It will produce flooding rain and strong wind gusts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
- Fiona could become a hurricane when it is near Puerto Rico.
- It’s unlikely that Fiona will ever become a mainland U.S. threat.
Tropical Storm Fiona is producing flooding rainfall and strong wind gusts in the northeastern Caribbean and it may strengthen into a hurricane as it tracks near Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
A hurricane warning has been issued for Puerto Rico and parts of the Dominica Republic and a hurricane watch has been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Here’s what we know about Fiona’s threats to the Caribbean and what the storm could mean down the road for the mainland United States.
Latest Status And Forecast
Fiona’s center is now located more than 100 miles southeast of Puerto Rico after passing over Guadeloupe Friday night.
Tropical storm force gusts have been reported in the U.S. territories. Recently, a station on St. Croix reported a gust of 49 mph.
Fiona has continued to organize and is expected to become a hurricane before its center reaches Puerto Rico.
There is a chance of rapid strengthening into Sunday as Fiona gets better organized.
On this track, Fiona will move near or just south of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight, then to the north of Hispaniola Sunday night or Monday.
On Sunday, the intensity forecast is uncertain because of possible land interaction with Puerto Rico, but intensification is expected once Fiona reaches the waters north of Hispaniola.
A hurricane warning is now in effect for Puerto Rico and portions of eastern Dominican Republic, meaning hurricane conditions are expected in Puerto Rico Sunday and the Dominican Republic Sunday night into Monday.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands and northern portions of the Dominican Republic, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Virgin Islands and for portions of the Dominican Republic. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area within 36 hours.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for portions of the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. This means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.
The British and U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the Turks and Caicos, may receive 4 to 6 inches of rainfall, with locally higher amounts from Fiona.
Rainfall in Puerto Rico may total 12 to 16 inches with locally up to 20 inches possible, particularly across eastern and southern Puerto Rico, according to the National Hurricane Center. Rainfall totals of 4 to 7 inches are expected in the Dominican Republic, with locally higher amounts. Haiti can expect 1 to 3 inches of rainfall. This heavy rain could trigger dangerous flooding and mudslides this weekend into early next week, particularly over mountainous terrain.
Some modest storm surge is possible on east and south-facing shores this weekend in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hispaniola. In addition, rip currents and rough surf are likely.
Is Fiona A Mainland U.S. Threat?
The bottom line is that the mainland U.S., especially from Florida to the rest of the Southeast coast, should just monitor the forecast, but direct impacts (rain/wind) are unlikely. Nearly every computer model now shows that Fiona will recurve away from the U.S., but it could have impacts in Bermuda.
Fiona could be near major hurricane strength as it nears Bermuda late in the upcoming week. Details on how much wind and rain are ahead for the archipelago still need to be figured out, but as the models above show, there is an increasing degree of certainty that Fiona will near Bermuda.
However, as frequently happens in hurricane season, this forecast may change. Check back with us at weather.com for the latest updates to this forecast in the days ahead.
Regardless of what happens, now is a good time to make sure you have a plan in place before a hurricane strikes. Information about hurricane preparedness can be found here.
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The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.