(CMC) – Tropical Storm Fiona was approaching the French island of Guadeloupe on Friday afternoon, with tropical storm conditions forcing the closure of schools, businesses and airports across the Leeward Islands.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that the storm, located 75 miles east of Guadeloupe, had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (mph) and a Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect for the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Dominica and the NHC said that additional watches or warnings could be required tonight or on Saturday.
Fiona is moving towards the west near 14 mph and a westward motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through early Sunday, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest and northwest Sunday and Sunday night.
“On the forecast track, the centre of Fiona is expected to move across the Leeward Islands tonight, near or just south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Saturday into Sunday, and approach the southern coast of the Dominican Republic Sunday night and early Monday,” the NHC said in its latest bulletin.
It said tropical storm conditions are expected across portions of the Leeward Islands this afternoon and continuing through Saturday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in Dominica this evening or tonight.
Fiona is forecast to produce rainfall totalling three to six inches across the Leeward Islands and Northern Windward Islands and between four to six inches for the British and US Virgin islands.
The Turks and Caicos could experience rainfall of between four to eight inches.
“These rains may produce flash and urban flooding, along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain” the NHC warned, adding that swells generated by Fiona are affecting the Leeward and northern Windward Islands, and are expected to spread westward to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today. “Swells will then reach the northern coast of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the south-eastern Bahamas over the weekend. These conditions could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions”.