SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (WFLA) — The National Hurricane Center issued Tropical Storm Warnings for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Friday morning ahead of Tropical Storm Fiona, which could become a hurricane early next week.

According to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. advisory, Tropical Storm Fiona is located about 20 miles east-northeast of Guadalupe, moving to the west at 15 mph. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, with tropical storm force winds extending out up to 140 miles from the center, and central pressure of 1004 MB.

Forecasters say the storm will strengthen during the next 48 hours or so before the center reaches the Dominican Republic on Sunday, where 6 to 10 inches of rain are expected to fall, with up to 16 inches possible.

The latest forecast says Fiona’s center is expected to move across the Leeward Islands during the
next few hours. Tropical storm force winds will spread westward to the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday and across Puerto Rico late Saturday and Sunday.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the following locations, meaning that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the area within 36 hours:

  • Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, and Anguilla
  • Saba and St. Eustatius
  • St. Maarten
  • Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy, and St. Martin
  • Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Dominica and the British Virgin Islands, meaning that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the area within 48 hours.

Forecasters said Puerto Rico can expect four to eight inches of rain, with up to a foot possible, particularly across eastern and southern Puerto Rico. The National Hurricane center is warning of “considerable flood impacts” for those areas.

The latest forecast indicates Fiona could become a hurricane sometime Tuesday or early Wednesday as it approaches the Bahamas.

WFLA Meteorologist Rebecca Barry says Tropical Storm Fiona is still battling quite a bit of wind shear, but is expected to move into areas more conducive to intensification once it turns northward. We were watching the Euro model very closely on Thursday evening, as it showed a more westerly track impacting South Florida, but the updated model runs today agree more with the other forecast models on a turn to the north.