Published On: Wed, Sep 25th, 2019

Tropical Storm Karen latest: Puerto Rico braces for mudslides as the storm grows stronger | World | News

Tropical storm Karen has spread rain across Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands as the storm continued its path northwards. Tropical storm warnings were in place across the region but were discontinued early this morning. According to the USGS, the municipalities of Coamo, Orocovis, and Bayaney received the most rainfall in the territory, with Gauges in Coamo receiving a whopping five inches. But what is the latest on this storm?

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) by 11am AST (4pm BST) Wednesday, Karen was located 240 miles north northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and had maximum sustained winds of 45mph.

Earlier this week, Karen had affected Puerto Rico as the island attempted to deal with a series of earthquakes and aftershocks which rocked the country.

A magnitude 6.0 tremor struck late on Monday, however, no significant damage or loss of life has been reported.

Another large magnitude 4.9 quake hit close to the same location on Tuesday night, while tropical storm Karen hovered about the island.

More than 50 aftershocks have rattled the area within 24 hours, ranging in magnitude from 2.5 to 6.0.

The science agency has said heavy rains will continue to batter Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the northern Leeward Islands throughout today as the storm which is moving northwards at 15mph continues across the Atlantic Ocean.

The advisory reads: “A north-northeastward to northeastward motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through early Friday.

“Karen is then expected to slow down and make a clockwise loop over the southwestern Atlantic into the weekend.

“Maximum sustained winds are near 45mph (75kmh) with higher gusts.

“Some strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days.

“Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110km) from the centre.”

Karen is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of between one and two inches across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, with isolated storm totals reaching up to eight inches.

These rain may produce flash flooding and mudslides, particularly in mountainous areas.

So far, some areas in southeastern Puerto Rico have seen up to five inches of rainfall which has already caused flooding.

Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez activated the National Guard on Monday to assist with intervention in flood-prone areas.

The government of the US Virgin Islands announced on Monday all government offices and public schools would close ahead of Karen’s approach and the Department of Public Works announced it would open sites for sandbag distribution.

AccuWeather meteorologists expect Karen to take a northerly path that will bring the system well northeast of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas on Thursday.

However, after Thursday Karen’s path is uncertain given the steering winds may have weakened, becoming more erratic.

During that time, it is possible, Karen will strengthen into a hurricane.

The next National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) advisory will be issued at 5pm AST (10pm BST).

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