- Tropical Storm Fiona will move 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 and the Dominican Republic.
- It’s far too soon to tell if this system 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.
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 has entered the northeastern Caribbean after passing over Guadeloupe. Tropical-storm-force conditions will continue in the northern Leeward islands Saturday morning.
The storm continues to fight some unfavorable upper-level winds (wind shear) and dry air.
The worst of the rain and gusty winds are occurring on the central Lesser Antilles now after the center has passed because most of the thunderstorm activity is on the eastward side of the system due to wind shear.
On this track, Fiona will move near or just south of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this weekend, then into Hispaniola Sunday night or Monday. A slightly more favorable environment may allow for some intensification this weekend and Fiona could strengthen into a hurricane as it tracks near Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti).
After that, uncertainty grows because of that possible land interaction, but some intensification is expected once Fiona reaches the waters north of Hispaniola.
A hurricane watch has been issued for Puerto Rico, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin 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.
Areas from the Leeward Islands to Puerto Rico to eastern Hispaniola to the Turks and Caicos could see rain totals of 4 to 10 inches (locally higher) from Fiona. That heavy rain could trigger dangerous flooding and mudslides this weekend into early next week, particularly over mountainous terrain. Up to 16 inches is possible, particularly across eastern and southern Puerto Rico.