Forecasters said Tropical Storm Dorian was gathering strength Monday while approaching islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea, and could strike Puerto Rico and its neighbors as a minimal hurricane on Tuesday.
The latest advisory has the storm approaching Florida as a tropical storm, but interaction with land can greatly affect the system’s path, so we’ll have a better idea of Florida impacts by mid-week.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center issued tropical storm warnings for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm watch was issued for Grenada and Martinique.
As of 5 a.m. Monday, the fourth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was centered about 225 miles east-southeast of Barbados and moving west at 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds are at 60 mph.
Dorian is a “small tropical cyclone,” the center said, with tropical-storm-force winds that extend outward for up to 45 miles from its center. Later Monday, that center will be near the Windward Islands.
Dorian’s maximum sustained winds have bumped up to 60 mph, the center said, and are expected to slowly strengthen.
“Dorian could be near hurricane strength on Tuesday and Wednesday while it is over the eastern Caribbean Sea,” the center said.
As it moves west, it will be battling wind shear and dry air, two hurricane killers, forecasters said. Reliable models show the storm weakening and dissipating before arriving in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. If the storm manages to overcome the hostile conditions and intensifies, both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will face a hurricane threat by midweek.