The storm, packing 50 mph winds with higher gusts, was about 495 miles east of the Leeward Islands late Thursday morning.
Tropical storm conditions (winds 39 mph or higher) extending 140 miles from the storm’s center have prompted many governments across the northern Leeward Islands to issue tropical storm warnings.
Tropical Storm Warnings now cover Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten.
A tropical storm warning means that a tropical storm is expected somewhere in the warning area within 36 hours.
“The Fiona Center is expected to move across the Leeward Islands Friday night and early Saturday, and to move near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late Saturday through Sunday,” the NHC wrote.
A Tropical Storm watch has also been issued for Guadeloupe, Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin.
An hour means a tropical storm is likely to occur within the next 48 hours.
Besides strong winds, these islands in the storm’s path could see 4 to 8 inches of torrential rain with isolated amounts of 8 to 12 inches across parts of eastern Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola.
“These rains may lead to isolated flash floods and urban flooding, along with isolated mudslides in areas of higher terrain,” the Hurricane Center explained.
By early next week, the system is expected to be near Hispaniola, where it will be weakened by interaction with the island’s mountainous terrain.
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