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Tropical Storm Fiona threatens to bring heavy rains to Puerto Rico, could strengthen into a hurricane

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Tropical Storm Fiona is expected to make its way toward Puerto Rico on Saturday and pass near the U.S. territory this weekend, with the potential for dangerously heavy rain in isolated spots, forecasters said. The storm threaded between Guadeloupe and Montserrat while entering the eastern Caribbean, dropping heavy rains over the northern Leeward Islands.

Forecasters placed Puerto Rico under a hurricane watch and people braced for potential landslides, severe flooding and power outages.

Fiona was then expected to cross over or pass near the Dominican Republic on Monday near hurricane strength with the same threat of extreme rains in places that could cause flash floods and mudslides, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

An infrared satellite image shows Tropical Storm Fiona at 6:30 a.m. ET on Sept. 17, 2022.
An infrared satellite image shows Tropical Storm Fiona at 6:30 a.m. ET on Sept. 17, 2022.

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Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lester in the eastern Pacific was on a projected path that could bring landfall near the Acapulco area on Mexico’s southwestern coast Saturday night.

Fiona was predicted to bring 5 to 10 inches of rain in eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with as much as 16 inches in isolated spots. Rains of 4 to 8 inches were forecast for the Dominican Republic, with up to a foot in places. Life-threatening surf also was possible from Fiona’s winds, forecasters said.

Fiona, which is the Atlantic hurricane season’s sixth named storm, had maximum sustained winds of about 60 mph early Saturday morning, the center said. It was moving westward at 13 mph, and was centered about 125 miles west of Guadeloupe.

In the Pacific, Lester was expected to remain a tropical storm until hitting the Mexican coast, but forecasters warned of potential dangers from heavy rains.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph early Saturday. It was centered about 135 miles southeast of Acapulco and moving to the northwest at 10 mph.

A tropical storm warning was up from Puerto Escondido to Zihuatanejo. The hurricane center said Lester could drop from 3 to 6 inches of rain in western Oaxaca state, Guerrero state, Michoacan state, Colima state and Jalisco state, with isolated areas getting a foot.

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