“Slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Dorian is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it moves close to Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola,” the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a report.
The storm’s center is expected to pass near or south of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, move near or over eastern Hispaniola Wednesday night and move north of Hispaniola on Thursday.
“Tropical storm conditions are expected and hurricane conditions are possible in Puerto Rico on Wednesday and in portions of the Dominican Republic Wednesday night and Thursday,” said the NHC.
Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced declared a state of emergency for the U.S. territory late on Monday in anticipation of the storm, the government said on Twitter.
Barbados was hit by strong winds and intermittent showers, with periodic jolts of thunder and lightning, on Monday evening.
The Barbados Meteorological Services discontinued its tropical storm warning at 2 a.m. and the nation’s international airport was reopened at 7 a.m.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
By late Tuesday morning, the storm was located about 60 miles (95 km) west-northwest of St. Lucia, blowing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, according to the NHC.
St. Lucia discontinued a tropical storm warning for the island.
(Production: Nigel Browne, Ricardo Ortiz, Arlene Eiras)