Hurricane Fiona is seen in the Caribbean on Monday afternoon. Forecasters expect the storm to strengthen into a major hurricane around Wednesday. Image courtesy NHC/NOAA
Sept. 19 (UPI) — The National Hurricane Center said Monday evening that Hurricane Fiona was strengthening as it moved into the Atlantic Ocean after it dumped sheets of water and caused life-threatening conditions in the Dominican Republic earlier in the day.
In its 8 p.m. AST update Monday, the NHC said that Hurricane Fiona was located about 130 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island in Turks and Caicos with sustained winds of 105 mph and moving northwest at 10 mph.
Hurricane warning was in effect for Turks and Caicos, where the storm is expected to pass Tuesday.
A hurricane watch was also in effect for the Dominican Republic from Cabo Caucedo to Puerto Plata.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the north coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Frances Viejo westward to Puerto Plata and the southeastern Bahamas, including Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands.
The NHC added that the storm brought hurricane conditions across the Dominican Republic as heavy rains and flooding persist in Puerto Rico, where Fiona had made landfall on Sunday.
The NHC added that “interests in Bermuda should monitor the progress of Fiona” and that the storm is expected to become a “major hurricane” by Wednesday.
“Some strengthening is expected during the next few days after the hurricane emerges over the southwestern Atlantic, and Fiona is forecast to become a major hurricane by Wednesday,” the NHC update said.
A storm becomes a major hurricane at Category 3, when maximum sustained winds reach 111 mph.
After hitting the Dominican Republic, Fiona is projected to make a turn northward and head toward Bermuda. It is not forecast to make landfall anywhere in the United States.
Fiona is the sixth named tropical system in the Atlantic basin this year, following Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle and Earl.
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