The U.S. National Hurricane Center has issued tropical storm warnings for the Leeward Islands of the western Atlantic as Tropical Storm Fiona moves west.
In its latest report, forecasters say Fiona was located about 425 km eastsoutheast of the Leeward Islands, with maximum sustained winds of about 85 kilometers per hour. The storm was moving to the west at about 24 km/hour.
On its current track, forecasters say Fiona should reach the Leeward Islands late Friday. It will then move near the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the island of Hispaniola this weekend into early next week.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Leeward Islands, including Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, and Anguilla, Saba and St. Eustatius, where high winds, dangerous surf and 10 to 15 centimeters of rain are expected.
The storm is expected to threaten Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Saturday, where similar conditions are expected.
In its long-term forecast, the hurricane center says the storm is fighting unfavorable upper-level winds (wind shear) and dry air, which is preventing it from strengthening. Some intensification is possible this weekend before Fiona likely reaches Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti).
Because of its interactions with those islands, forecasters are uncertain of the storm’s path or intensity but some intensification is possible once Fiona reaches the waters north of Hispaniola.