Tropical Storm Fiona has formed in the Atlantic, becoming the sixth named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm, packing winds of 60 mph with even higher gusts, was about 495 miles east of the Leeward Islands late Thursday morning.
The tropical storm conditions (winds 39 mph or higher) which extend 140 miles from the center of the storm have prompted multiple governments across the northern Leeward Islands to issue tropical storm warnings.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.
Tropical storm warnings now cover Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, St. Barthélemy, and St. Martin.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the warning area within 36 hours.
“The center of Fiona is expected to move across the Leeward Islands Friday night and early Saturday, and move near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late Saturday into Sunday,” the hurricane center wrote.
The storm could fluctuate in strength through the weekend, but isn’t anticipated to strengthen significantly.
Fiona’s primary impact will be heavy rain from the Leeward Islands to Puerto Rico. Flash flooding of urban areas and mudslides in the higher terrain will be possible due to 4 to 6 inches of rainfall, with isolated amounts of over 10 inches, according to the center.
“Considerable flood impacts are possible across eastern portions of Puerto Rico,” the National Hurricane Center warns.
By early next week, the system is forecast to be near Hispaniola, where it will be weakened by interaction with the island’s mountainous terrain.