Tropical Storm Dorian was likely to strengthen into a hurricane during the next two days as it churned westward in the Caribbean Sea, putting the Lesser Antilles Islands and Puerto Rico on alert, forecasters said on Sunday.
The storm packed 40 mph (65 kmh) winds as it headed west at 13 mph early on Sunday morning. It was forecasted to be near central Lesser Antilles late on Monday or early Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
“Right now, it’s a tropical storm and we are expecting it to strengthen close to or reaching hurricane intensity as it approaches,” NHC meteorologist Michael Brennan told Reuters.
As of Sunday morning, Barbados was under a tropical storm watch. It was the only island under an advisory.
But the NHC was likely to issue additional watches for portions of the Windward and Leeward Islands on Sunday, he said, noting that Puerto Rico and Hispaniola should monitor Dorian’s progress.
“We are approaching the peak of the hurricane season so everybody in the Caribbean and along the U.S. South, Gulf and East Coast needs to be aware and follow these systems,” Brennan said.
Dorian’s winds could weaken as it passes south of Puerto Rico and approaches Hispaniola.
Many Caribbean islands are likely to receive 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) of rain, but some part of the Lesser Antilles islands could get 6 inches, the NHC said. (Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)