The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported Monday that in the next few hours the formation of a tropical storm is almost imminent in the Caribbean that has the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on alert.
The weather center said in an afternoon bulletin that the low pressure system, which is currently about 165 miles (260 km) east-southeast of the island of Dominica in the Lesser Antilles, will become a tropical storm tonight.
The NHC said the islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Dominica are under a tropical storm watch, as are the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The system is moving west-northwest at 15 mph (24 km/h) with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km/h).
Forecasts indicate that the system will reach portions of the Lesser Antilles tonight, then move near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday and will be near Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) by mid-week.
According to the NHC, heavy rains and flooding are likely in the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where up to 4 inches (100 millimeters) of water accumulation is possible.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released its updated forecast for the current season, according to which the Atlantic will see above-average activity.
The update made by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center reflects that between 15 and 21 named storms could be recorded this year, of which between 7 and 10 could reach hurricane status, and 3 to 5 of them could be major, that is, category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Nearing the halfway point of the current Atlantic hurricane season, which officially began on June 1, the count to date is five tropical storms: Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny and Elsa, the last of which became this year’s first hurricane in early July.