Tropical Storm Fiona heads for Puerto Rico with heavy rains

MEXICO CITY – Tropical Storm Fiona is moving into the eastern Caribbean, stranding between Guadeloupe and Montserrat and bringing heavy rain to the northern Leeward Islands.

Forecasters said the storm would slowly make its way toward Puerto Rico on Saturday and pass near or over the U.S. mainland by Sunday morning, with dangerously heavy rain expected in isolated locations. .

Fiona was then expected to pass over the Dominican Republic on Monday with the same threat of heavy rains in places that could cause flooding and mudslides.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fiona was then likely to strengthen into a hurricane near the Bahamas by Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Lester was on an expected track that could make landfall near the Acapulco region on Mexico’s southwest coast Saturday night.

Fiona was forecast to bring 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) of rain to eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to a foot (30 cm) in isolated locations. Rainfall of 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) was forecast for the Dominican Republic, with up to 16 inches (41 cm) in places. Forecasters said deadly surf was also possible with Fiona’s winds.

Fiona, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, had sustained winds of about 60 mph (95 km/h) late Friday, the center said. It was moving west at 14 mph (22 km/h), and was centered about 55 miles (90 km) west-northwest of Guadeloupe.

In the Pacific, Lester was expected to remain a tropical storm by the time it hit the Mexican coast, but forecasters warned of possible threats of heavy rains.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h) late Friday. It was centered 200 miles (325 km) southeast of Acapulco and moving northwest at 12 mph (19 km/h).

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Puerto Escondido to Zihuatanejo. Lester could get 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) of rain on the coasts of Upper Guerrero state and Michoacan state, with isolated areas getting 16 inches (41 cm), the hurricane center said.

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