Tropical Storm Fiona forms, aiming for Puerto Rico this weekend
TAMPA, Fla. - Fiona reached tropical storm status Wednesday night, as it continues to battle dry air from the Saharan Desert and wind shear.
Sometime next week, the tropical storm should make a turn north, computer models show, but the question is when. That turn will determine how it could impact Florida, but the long-range forecast is not set in stone.
LINK: Track Tropical Storm Fiona on MyFOXHurricane.com
Tropical Storm Fiona is centered about 600 miles east of the northeastern Caribbean islands and is producing a large area of showers and thunderstorms over the central tropical Atlantic.
In the coming days, Fiona will continue tracking west toward the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola this weekend. Heavy rains will reach the Leeward Islands by Friday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.
"It’s not going to be moving all that fast, especially from Saturday through Monday," explained FOX 13’s meteorologist Dave Osterberg. "This is going to leave for a tremendous amount of rain for Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and parts of the Virgin Islands. That could, unfortunately, lead to flash flooding and some mudslides."
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He said forecasters do not expect Fiona to rapidly intensify.
"Computer models show it making that turn by next Tuesday. There are no models indicating it will barrel straight into [Florida]," Osterberg said. "However, you know as well as I do, it’s a long way away. It’s a week away before it makes that turn. So, we got to keep a close eye on it. But right now, there’s nothing that is pushing it toward us at this point."