Published On: Tue, Sep 24th, 2019

Tropical Storm Karen: Major EARTHQUAKE rattles Puerto Rico as dangerous cyclone closes in | World | News

As Tropical Storm Karen nears Puerto Rico, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake rattled the Caribbean island. The quake struck hours before the big storm is forecast to bring heavy rainfall, flash floods and mudslides to the area. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a Tropical Storm Warnings for Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra and the US and British Virgin Islands

The earthquake struck on Monday night as residents were preparing for the arrival of Karen.

The tremor hit at 11.23pm local time, approximately 49 miles off the island’s northwest coast.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) also said the powerful earthquake was followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.

Officials said there were no reports of injuries or significant damage.

READ MORE: Storm Karen: How safe is travel to Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands?

The island territory was already on alert as Tropical Storm Karen loomed near the island.

In NOAA’s latest advisory, Karen was located about 65 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico and 80 miles west of St Croix.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the watch area on Tuesday.

NOAA warned: “Karen has moved erratically during the past few hours as the centre has re-formed a little to the west.

READ MORE: The SEVEN barrelling storms churning in the oceans RIGHT NOW

“However, it is expected to resume a motion toward the north near 8 mph (13 km/h) this afternoon.

“A north-northeastward motion with some increase in forward speed is forecast tonight through Wednesday night.

“On the forecast track, the centre of Karen will pass near or over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands this afternoon and then move over the western Atlantic tonight and Wednesday.”

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicated Karen had slightly strengthened since the last advisory.

Maximum sustained winds are now near 45mph with higher gusts.

The strong winds extend outward up to 80 miles, meaning Puerto Rico should already feel the brace of the storm.

The weather system is expected to produce two to four inches in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through Wednesday, with isolated rain up to eight inches.

These rains may cause flash flooding and mudslides, especially in mountainous areas.

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