A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Puerto Rico and parts of Dominican Republic after Tropical Storm Fiona threaded between Guadeloupe and Montserrat while entering the eastern Caribbean and dropped heavy rains over the northern Leeward Islands.
Forecasters said the storm would slowly make its way toward Puerto Rico on Saturday and would pass near or over the U.S. territory by Sunday morning, with the potential for dangerously heavy rain in isolated spots.
Fiona was then expected to cross over the Dominican Republic on Monday with the same threat of extreme rains in places that could cause flash floods and mudslides.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fiona was then likely to strengthen into a hurricane near the Bahamas by Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lester in the eastern Pacific was on a projected path that could bring landfall near the Acapulco area on Mexico’s southwestern coast Saturday night.
Fiona was predicted to bring 5 to 10 inches of rain with local 16 inches possible, particularly across eastern and southern Puerto Rico and about 4 to 8 inches with 12 inches possible, particularly on the far eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. Life-threatening surf also was possible from Fiona’s winds, forecasters said.
Fiona, which is the Atlantic hurricane season’s sixth named storm, had maximum sustained winds of about 60 mph early Saturday morning, the center said. It was moving westward at 13 mph, and was centered about 125 miles west of Guadeloupe.
In the Pacific, Lester was expected to remain a tropical storm until hitting the Mexican coast, but forecasters warned of potential dangers from heavy rains.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph early Saturday. It was centered 110 miles southeast of Acapulco and moving moving to the northwest at 10 mph.
A tropical storm warning was up from Puerto Escondido to Zihuatanejo. The hurricane center said Lester could drop from 3 to 6 inches of rain in Western Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima, into Jalisco, with isolated areas getting 12 inches.