Storms and a deluge from Tropical Storm Fiona swept through the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe with at least two people reportedly swept away by high waters as the regime threatened Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands on Saturday.
In an 11 a.m. update Saturday, the NHC said Fiona was maintaining 60 mph winds with higher gusts. The NHC has issued a hurricane warning for Puerto Rico.
The system grew in strength after passing through the northern Leeward Islands. Its epicenter is about 130 miles southeast of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands moving west at 8 mph.
Heavy rain will spread west to the British and American Isles, Puerto Rico today, the Dominican Republic on Sunday, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Monday evening.
Its tropical winds span 125 miles.
Fiona strengthened Friday evening after passing into the northeastern Caribbean, according to the National Hurricane Center, and could gain hurricane strength by Monday.
Heavy rains left severe damage to roads in Guadeloupe with a video on Twitter showing fast-moving floods pouring into the streets washing out roads and submerged streets up to two feet, swept away by cars.
Expected rainfall was more than 8 inches in some parts of the island.
Government officials at the French Foreign Ministry said two people were missing due to rising waters overnight.
“On the forecast path, the center of Fiona is expected to move near or just south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today through Sunday, and approach the south or east coast of the Dominican Republic on Sunday night and Monday,” said the NHC hurricane specialist. Brad Reinhart.
With a tropical storm warning already in place, hurricane hours were issued for Puerto Rico as well as parts of the Dominican Republic.
Warnings remain for the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba, St Eustatius, St Maarten, Guadeloupe, St Barthelemy, St Maarten and parts of the Dominican Republic.
The updated path of the system predicts travel away from Florida, as it gains hurricane strength before landing in the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. It is expected to maintain hurricane strength as a Category 1 system with winds of up to 75 mph and gusts of up to 90 mph as it passes over the island, approaches the Turks and Caicos Islands and threatens the southern Bahamas early next week.
Many islands as large as 16 inches in size in Puerto Rico and 12 inches in size in the Dominican Republic are at risk of heavy rainfall and potential flooding.
Saturday’s new five-day forecast has arched it further north and into the Atlantic, gaining traction as a Category 2 system by Wednesday with sustained winds of 90 mph.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, a tropical wave was detected Thursday halfway between the west coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles. The weather system produces unregulated showers and thunderstorms, and is expected to develop slowly late this weekend and early next week when it turns north over the central subtropical Atlantic. NHC gives it 20% of the composition over the five days.
Also, the NHC lowered the chances of it forming to 0% downstream over the western Atlantic a few hundred miles west and northwest of Bermuda, which appeared Friday morning.
Despite the low chances, their appearance coincides with Colorado State University releasing its tropical forecast for the next two weeks, saying that the tropics could get busier with a 50% chance of above-average activity. CSU also gave a 40% chance of normal activity and a 10% chance of below-average activity.
Fiona could become the third hurricane of the season after hurricanes Daniela and Earl earlier this month.
What was expected to be an above-average tropical season was mostly quiet in July and August before gaining momentum on September 1.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November. 30.