Published On: Tue, Aug 27th, 2019

Tropical Storm Dorian satellite image: Puerto Rico under threat as Dorian gathers strength | World | News

Tropical storm Dorian is expected to hit Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as a hurricane on Wednesday, two years after the category five Hurricane Maria devastated the US territory in 2017, killing more than 3,000 people. Tropical storm warnings have been issued across the Caribbean as the storms continues to track west northwest across the eastern and northeastern Caribbean Sea over the coming days. Dorian is the fourth named tropical storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season and is expected to become the second hurricane of the season, after hurricane Barry which formed on July 11.

Hurricane watch and tropical storm watches alerts have been issued by many Caribbean countries.

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area signalling that within the next 48 hours, there will likely be tropical-storm-force winds and conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

A hurricane watch alert is in effect for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Samana.

Meanwhile Martinique, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Samana have issued tropical storm warnings, which are alerts that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A tropical storm watch is an alert issued when tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Currently, there tropical storm watches are in effect for Dominica, Saba and St. Eustatius, the Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Punta Palenque and the Dominican Republic from Samana to Puerto Plata.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) also advises the Virgin Islands to closely monitor Dorian’s progression.

The NHC said: “Dorian is forecast to be a hurricane when it moves near Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola.”

Of these areas, rainfall is expected to impact many areas over the coming days, particularly on Thursday, this includes:

  • Martinique to Saint Vincent will see 3 to 6 inches of rainfall with isolated areas getting 10 inches
  • Grenadines to Grenada will see 1 to 3 inches of rainfall
  • Guadeloupe to Dominica: 1 to 4 inches of rainfall
  • Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic: 4 to 6 inches of rainfall with isolated areas getting up to 8 inches
  • US Virgin Islands: 1 to 3 inches of rainfall with isolated regions getting up to 4 inches.

The NHC has warned that the rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods.

Currently, heavy rain and gusty winds are impacting the northern Windward Islands and southern Leeward Islands.

As of 11am AST (4pm BST) Dorian was located at latitude 14.2 north, longitude 61.8 west, which is approximately 60 miles west northwest from St Lucia and around 415 miles southeast of Ponce in Puerto Rico.

The current wind speed was recorded as 50mph (40kts) and Doria was tracking west northwest at 13mph (20km/h).

Meanwhile, the minimum central pressure was recorded as 1005mb (29.68 inches).

The worst of the storm is forecast for Thursday at 1am, with maximum wind speeds predicted to reach 70mph (60kts).

Much of Barbadoes shut down as Dorian approached today and authorities urged residents to remain indoors amid reports of electrical outages and other minor incidents.

Although the latest forecasts suggest Puerto Rico may be spared a direct hit, the island’s leaders have sought to reassure its population of 3.2 million people that they are not underestimating Dorian, especially the widespread catastrophic devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

When Governor Wanda Vázquez declared a state of emergency on Monday evening, she said: “I want everyone to feel calm.

“Agency heads have prepared for the past two years. The experience of Maria has been a great lesson for everyone.”

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