The Latest: Tropical Storm Karen now close to Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The Latest on tropical weather (all times local):

8 p.m.

Heavy rain squalls from Tropical Storm Karen are beginning to spread over parts of southeastern Puerto Rico as the system nears the island.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tuesday evening that Karen’s core is located about 45 miles (75 kilometers) east of San Juan Puerto Rico. The storm is moving to the northeast at 10 mph (16 kph) and has top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph). Forecasters warn the storm could produce heavy rains, flash flooding and mudslides over the coming hours.

Meanwhile, high winds are expected early Wednesday in Bermuda as Tropical Storm Jerry approaches that island. Jerry is now about 250 miles (405 kilometers) west-southwest of Bermuda and has maximum winds of 50 mph (85 kph). The hurricane center say Jerry is expected to turn to the northeast in the next hours and then to the east-northeast on Wednesday while passing close to Bermuda.

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5:10 p.m.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Karen is nearing southeastern Puerto Rico and is expected to produce heavy rainfall, flash floods and mudslides.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tuesday evening that Karen has top sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph). The storm’s core was about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Karen is moving to the north at 8 mph (13 kph).

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

Officials say the storm’s center will pass near or over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands later Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jerry is expected to continue to weaken Tuesday as it moves closer to Bermuda. Forecasters say Jerry could cause life-threatening rip currents off the coast of Bermuda early Wednesday.

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2 p.m.

Tropical Storm Karen is slightly stronger as it churns closer to Puerto Rico.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Karen has top sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph). On Tuesday afternoon, the core of Karen was about 65 miles (105 kilometers) south of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Forecasters say the storm has moved erratically in recent hours but the center of Karen has reorganized somewhat and it is expected to pass near or over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands later Tuesday before heading into the western Atlantic.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Jerry weakened a little Tuesday as it edged closer to Bermuda. Jerry had top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and is moving to the north at 7 mph (11 kph). It was about 270 miles (435 kilometers) west-southwest of Bermuda on Tuesday afternoon.

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6:10 a.m.

Karen regained tropical storm strength as it swirled toward Puerto Rico, where it’s expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds increased early Tuesday to near 40 mph (65 kph) with additional strengthening expected during the next two days.

Karen is centered about 110 miles (180 kilometers) south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is moving north near 7 mph (11 kph).

Schools and government offices were already ordered closed in Puerto Rico as well as in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, with officials warning people to stay indoors.

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12:45 a.m.

Forecasters are warning that Tropical Depression Karen will unleash heavy rains across the northeastern Caribbean on Tuesday that could cause flooding and landslides in Puerto Rico and nearby islands.

As the storm approaches, Puerto Ricans are now trying to compose themselves after being shaken from their beds late Monday by a magnitude-6.0 earthquake that hit in the Atlantic near the island. Three strong aftershocks followed within less than an hour. No damage was reported.

Schools and government offices were already ordered closed in Puerto Rico as well as in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, with officials warning people to stay indoors.

Categories: International News