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Tropical Storm Karen targets Puerto Rico Tuesday afternoon, after 6.0 earthquake morning scare


Tropical Storm Karen is forecast to move either over or near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. update.

The U.S. territory also experienced a scare with a 6.0 earthquake at 3:23 a.m. Tuesday off of its northwest coast, but authorities reported no damages, according to U.S. Geological Survey.

As of the 11 a.m. update, Karen was about 65 miles away from San Juan, Puerto Rico moving at 7 mph and blowing maximum sustaining winds of 40 mph, the NHC said. Karen’s tropical-storm-force winds can be felt up to 80 miles away from the center.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

The islands could receive between 2 to 4 inches rain with isolated areas of 8 inches, the NHC warned.

Schools and government offices were already ordered closed in Puerto Rico as well as in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, with officials warning people to stay indoors.

“We’ve had a number of these events now, and I know it’s like the little boy who cried wolf, but I’m urging the public to remain ever vigilant,” U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said.

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez activated the National Guard on Monday and urged people in flood-prone areas to seek shelter.

The island is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which hit as a Category 4 storm two years ago and is estimated to have caused more than $100 billion in damage. More than 25,000 homes still have blue tarps for roofs and the electric grid remains unstable.

“It’s a reality that we might have power outages,” Vázquez said.

The storm that formed on Sunday devolved into a tropical depression late Monday but is now showing signs of strengthening.

As Karen is on track to continue moving northeastward, Tropical Storm Lorenzo approaches hurricane strength and Tropical Storm Jerry targeted Bermuda.

Lorenzo was 370 miles away from the Cabo Verde Islands as of the 11 a.m. update and on track to move west-northwest at 16 mph. Its maximum sustaining winds increased to 65 mph with even higher gusts, the NHC said.

Meteorologists predict Lorenzo is expected to become a hurricane Wednesday and could develop stronger into a major hurricane by Thursday.

Tropical-storm-force winds can be felt outward of 150 miles from Lorenzo’s center. Lorenzo’s five day forecast track has it remaining away from any land.

Meanwhile, the 10th named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Jerry, dropped intensity overnight after dropping from hurricane strength earlier this week.

Tropical Storm Jerry is continuing its path northeastward and is about 285 miles away from Bermuda with maximum sustaining wind speeds of 60 mph, the NHC said.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda, as the center of Jerry is believed to pass Bermuda Wednesday night.

Jerry’s tropical-storm-force winds can be felt 185 miles away from the center.

“Swells generated by Jerry are beginning to increase along the coast of Bermuda, and they will continue to affect the island during the next few days,” said U.S. Navy Hurricane Specialist Dave Roberts.

Jerry’s effects on surf will be able to be seen in the Caribbean islands as well, Roberts said.

“Swells will affect portions of the northern Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico for another day or so. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” Roberts said.

Also, a new tropical disturbance formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday afternoon near the Yucatan peninsula, and is expected to move slowly west. As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, the system has a 10 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression in the next 48 and a 20 percent chance of doing so in the next five days.


Original story from orlandosentinel

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