Tropical Storm Dorian is churning just east of the Lesser Antilles today and could turn into a hurricane by Tuesday.
It's expected to bring tropical storm conditions to the Windward Islands later Monday and pour up to 4 inches of rain over the islands as well as Barbados and Dominica through Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Some areas in Barbados and the Windward Islands may see up to 6 inches of rain, the center said.
There were tropical storm warnings for Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Monday and tropical storm watches for Dominica, Martinique and Grenada and its dependencies, the center said..
Swells generated by the storm around the Lesser Antilles on Monday could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, the center said.
The storm's path and threat
Dorian is a "small tropical cyclone," the center said, with tropical-storm-force winds that extend outward for up to 45 miles from its center. Later Monday, that center will be near the Windward Islands.
The storm will intensify by the time it pushes west past the Lesser Antilles and into the Caribbean Sea on Tuesday, CNN Meteorologist Karen Maginnis said.
Dorian's maximum sustained winds have bumped up to 60 mph, the center said, and are expected to slowly strengthen.
"Dorian could be near hurricane strength on Tuesday and Wednesday while it is over the eastern Caribbean Sea," the center said.
Dorian is a compact storm, which makes for a more difficult forecast, especially when it comes to intensity, CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said.
As it moves west, it will be battling wind shear and dry air, two hurricane killers, Cabrera said. Reliable models show the storm weakening and dissipating before arriving in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. If the storm manages to overcome the hostile conditions and intensifies, both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will face a hurricane threat by midweek.
"Regardless of wind intensity, heavy flooding rain will be possible, with mudslide threat in higher terrain," Cabrera said.
Dorian could turn into a Category 1 Hurricane
Dorian, the fourth named storm of the hurricane season, will be approaching Puerto Rico by Wednesday evening. Puerto Ricans, with fresh memories of the 2017 disaster, have been bracing for what Dorian may look like.
Nearly two years ago, the island was slammed by Hurricane Maria, which unfurled death and devastation and left nearly the entire island without power.
This week's tropical storm is expected to turn into a Category 1 hurricane while it's in the vicinity of Puerto Rico, Maginnis said.
Wilfredo Díaz Rosado posted video and images of long lines and empty shelves at Costco and Sam's Club stores in Puerto Rico.
Krystle Rivera tweeted images showing people with full carts of water at Sam's Club on Sunday morning.
"Thankfully I've been preparing since May," she said, noting that her family has been stocking up water, canned food and gas.
The line for water stretched from the entrance to the back storage area, she said.
The National Hurricane Center says while it's too soon to determine the magnitude or possible impacts of Dorian on Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or Hispaniola, those areas should continue to monitor the storm's progress.
Generally, hurricane season reaches a peak in the eight weeks around September 10. Two-thirds of all the storms produced in a typical season occur during this period.