Tropical Storm Fiona forms in Atlantic, headed toward Puerto Rico

Tropical Depression Seven strengthened to Tropical Storm Fiona late Wednesday in the Atlantic Ocean as it made its way toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the National Hurricane Center said.

It is the sixth named storm of what’s been a rather quiet and uneventful 2022 Atlantic hurricane season thus far.

The tropical storm was moving to the west-northwest at 16 mph and packing sustained winds of 50 mph.

As of late Wednesday evening, the tropical storm was located about 650 miles east of the Leeward Islands, the Hurricane Center said.

Heading toward Puerto Rico, Leeward Islands

“On the forecast track, the center of the storm is forecast to move through the Leeward Islands late Friday and Friday night, and be near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this weekend,” the Hurricane Center said.

Some slow strengthening is possible over the next few days, the Hurricane Center said.

Tropical storm watches were in effect for a string of Caribbean islands, including Antigua and Barbuda late Wednesday.

Drenching downpours

The most widespread impact of this system will be drenching downpours, according to AccuWeather. Rainfall amounts of 3-5 inches could bring localized flooding from the islands of Guadeloupe and Antigua, through the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic.

Although the system is forecast to strengthen over the coming days, current predictions keep it well below hurricane strength. Wind shear in the Gulf of Mexico and southwest Atlantic could limit the strengthening of the system.

No threat to South Florida ‘at this time’

The system is no threat to South Florida “at this time,” according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

However, the agency encouraged residents to review hurricane plans and supplies since the peak period of hurricane season lasts until mid-October.