Puerto Rico Experiences Earthquake, Tropical Storm Threat

A spokeswoman for the island’s Emergency Management Agency said that there were no immediate reports of damage following the quake. The National Weather Service in San Juan also said there’s no risk of a tsunami.

by Michelle Marchante and Alex Harris, Miami Herald / September 24, 2019
A man uses a flour bag to protect himself from the rain, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. Tropical Storm Karen regained strength as it swirled toward Puerto Rico, where it's expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds. AP

(TNS) — The Virgin Islands, Culebra and Vieques are waking up to Karen’s heavy rains Tuesday. Karen, which is a tropical storm again, is forecast to pass over or near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday, a day after a 6.0-magnitude struck near Puerto Rico, the strongest to hit the island in recent years.

Kiara Hernández, spokeswoman for the island’s Emergency Management Agency, told The Associated Press that there were no immediate reports of damage following the quake. The National Weather Service in San Juan also said there is no risk of a tsunami.

The island was already waiting for the possible threat of Karen, with schools and government offices closed and the National Guard activated for the storm.

But, where is Karen and could it affect Puerto Rico and Florida?

Here’s what you need to know:

Where is the storm?

Tropical storm Karen is moving north near seven mph with maximum sustained winds at 40 mph with higher gusts. It is about 75 miles west-southwest of St. Croix and about 85 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to the hurricane center’s 8 a.m. Tuesday advisory. Additional strengthening is expected in the next 48 hours.

The Virgin Islands, Culebra and Vieques are seeing heavy rains, as of Tuesday morning, with Karen’s center forecast to pass near or over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday and then move over the western Atlantic Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Warnings issued

The U.S., British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra are under a tropical storm warning. Interests elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles are asked to continue monitoring the storm’s progress.

Potential storm hazards

Besides heavy rainfall and gusty winds across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands later Tuesday, there is also a risk for flash flooding and mudslides, especially in mountainous areas, according to the National Hurricane Center’s early morning advisory.

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands can expect to see two to four inches of rain, with isolated areas seeing up to eight inches through Wednesday, while those in the Leeward Islands are forecast to see one to three inches of rain, with isolated areas seeing up to five inches.

The tropical storm force winds, which extend up to 80 miles from the storm’s center, could arrive to the warning areas by late Tuesday morning, especially in gusts, according to the hurricane center. The storm has maximum sustained winds near 40 mph, as of early Tuesday, but forecasters warn those in elevated areas may feel the winds slightly stronger.

“Winds could be higher on the windward sides of hills and mountains, and also in elevated terrain,” the forecast reads. The heavy rainfall and potential flooding is also expected to continue through Wednesday, as the storm’s center moves away from the islands.

While the storm remains far from Florida, the state’s Atlantic coast has a high risk of rip currents at least until late Tuesday, causing dangerous conditions for small vessels and swimmers, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters say the risk does not appear to be related to Karen or the other storms in the Atlantic.

Where is the storm going?

Once the tropical storm moves north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, forecasters believe the storm may see “some slow but steady strengthening” but the storm’s path later in the week is still “quite uncertain.”

Karen’s five-day projection track shows the storm is expected to remain a tropical storm into the weekend and may potentially shift west after heading north out of the Caribbean and back into the Atlantic. However, forecasters say it’s still too far out to know for sure where the storm is expected to go.

 

 

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