US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico brace for tropical storm

Tropical Cyclone Six; Warning for virgin islands

Islands in the northern Caribbean are bracing for a looming weather system which is expected to strengthen into the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The US National Hurricane Centre issued tropical storm warnings for the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“The most important thing today is preparation,” said Puerto Rico governor Pedro Pierluisi. “I am not going to minimise the potential impact of this event… we expect a lot of rain.”

He said government agencies will close by noon on Tuesday.

The Dominican Republic, Haiti and the southern Bahamas could also get hit on Wednesday, and people in Florida were urged to monitor updates, but forecasters said it remained uncertain where the storm could move later in the week.

Heavy rain hit parts of the eastern Caribbean overnight, including the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica.

More than a month has passed since the last Atlantic storm, Hurricane Elsa, but this time of summer is usually the busiest.

The hurricane centre issued warnings for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic, on the south coast from Punta Palenque eastwards and on the north coast from Cabo Frances Viejo eastwards.

A watch was in effect for Saba, St Eustatius and Hispaniola’s north coast, from Cabo Frances in the Dominican Republic to Gonaives, Haiti.

The Turks and Caicos Islands and the south-eastern Bahamas were also under a tropical storm watch, including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands.

The system labelled Potential Tropical Cyclone Six had maximum sustained winds of 35mph with higher gusts, according to officials. A tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of at least 39mph.

The storm was expected to produce 2in to 4in of rain over the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with up to 6in in some areas, and could lead to flooding and mudslides.

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