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Emily spins across eastern Caribbean with heavy rain

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The Bahamian government issues watch for storm
  • Storm strengthens slightly as it moves towards Dominican Republic and Haiti
  • Tropical storm warning issued for Haiti
  • Heavy rain is forecast for Haiti and the Dominican Republic

(CNN) -- The government of the Bahamas issued a tropical storm watch Tuesday in preparation for Emily, the storm that continues to churn towards the northeastern Caribbean, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Emily is expected to strengthen slightly before moving over the Dominican Republic and Haiti by late Wednesday.

The storm was 165 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday and is expected to pass near the Dominican Republic and Haiti Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

It was continuing to move west at 14 mph (22 kilometers per hour), but the Weather Service said it expects the storm to turn to the northwest and gain speed.

The storm's maximum sustained winds remained at 50 mph (85 kph) and extended north and east of the storms center up to 105 miles (165 kilometers) by 8 p.m. Tuesday, forecasters said. The system should make its way into the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday.

A tropical storm watch for Haiti was upgraded to a storm warning Tuesday morning. Warnings were also in effect for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within the next 36 hours.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. The forecast also suggests Emily could skirt the east coast of Florida by early Saturday, but no watches or warnings were up for the U.S. mainland as of Tuesday night.

In Haiti, the government issued an alert advising residents that the storm's heavy rains could produce dangerous flooding and mudslides.

Emily is expected to dump up to 10 inches of rain in parts of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.