Tropical Storm Fiona heads for Puerto Rico with heavy rain

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Fiona threaded its way between Guadeloupe and Montserrat as it entered the eastern Caribbean and dropped heavy rain over the northern Leeward Islands.

Forecasters said the storm would slowly track toward Puerto Rico on Saturday and pass near or over U.S. territory on Sunday morning, with the potential for dangerously heavy rain in isolated locations.

Fiona was then expected to cross the Dominican Republic on Monday with the same threat of extreme rain in places that could cause flash flooding and mudslides.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fiona was then likely to develop into a hurricane near the Bahamas by Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lester in the eastern Pacific was on a projected track that could make landfall near the Acapulco region on the southwest coast of Mexico on Saturday evening.

Fiona was forecast to bring 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain to eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 30 centimeters in isolated locations. Rains of 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) were forecast for the Dominican Republic, with up to 16 inches (41 centimeters) in places. Life-threatening waves were also possible from Fiona’s winds, forecasters said.

Fiona, which is the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, experienced maximum sustained winds of around 60 mph (95 km/h) Friday evening, the center said. It was moving west at 14 mph (22 km/h) and was centered about 55 miles (90 kilometers) west-northwest of Guadeloupe.

In the Pacific, Lester was expected to remain a tropical storm until it hit the Mexican coast, but forecasters warned of the potential dangers of heavy rain.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h) Friday evening. It was centered 200 miles (325 kilometers) southeast of Acapulco and was moving northwest at 12 mph (19 km/h).

A tropical storm warning was rising from Puerto Escondido to Zihuatanejo. The hurricane center said Lester could drop 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) of rain on the coasts of upper Guerrero and Michoacan state, with isolated areas receiving 16 inches ( 41 centimeters).

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