Tropical Storm Dorian is strengthening as it moves westward towards the Caribbean, and could reach hurricane strength by early Thursday, possibly before hitting Puerto Rico.
As of Monday morning, Dorian is considered a "small tropical cyclone." It's just over 130 miles from Barbados, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. It's moving at approximately 14 mph towards the Windward Islands, which are expected to face tropical storm conditions later Monday. Tropical storm watches and warnings are in effect for the area, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Tropical storm warnings have also been issued for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Tropical storm watches have been issued for Dominica, Martinique and Grenada and its dependencies. A hurricane watch has been issued for St. Lucia. The NHC also issued a warning for mariners, swimmers and surfers, saying that swells triggered by the storm around the Lesser Antilles could cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions" by late Monday.
Dorian will likely bring heavy rain and strong winds as it intensifies. Barbados, the Windward Islands and Dominica are expected to get at least two to four inches of rain, according to the NHC. Some parts of Barbados and the Windward Islands could see up to six inches of rain.
It's too early to tell for certain whether Dorian will hit Puerto Rico or other islands further west, and how strong of a storm it might be when and if it does. But the NHC says it's monitoring the storm closely and "watches could be required later today."
It was just under two years ago that Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, which led to the deaths of close to 3,000 people.