MIAMI, Sept 4 Tropical Storm Gabrielle formed in
the northeastern Caribbean Sea on Wednesday and was forecast to
drench Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as it headed into
the Atlantic, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center
The storm was centered about 70 miles (110 km) south of San
Juan, Puerto Rico. It was expected to curve slowly to the
northwest and then turn to the northeast on a path that would
take it east of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas
during the weekend, forecasters said.
Gabrielle packed top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph),
according to the hurricane center. It was expected to strengthen
slowly through Monday but had little chance of growing into the
season's first hurricane, forecasters said.
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the eastern
Dominican Republic can expect heavy rain, with dangerous flash
flooding and mudslides in mountainous areas, the forecasters
Puerto Rico was already saturated amid one of the wettest
years on record. Rainfall in the capital of San Juan was nearly
two feet (0.6 meters) above average for the year, meteorologist
Jeff Masters said in his Weather Underground blog.
Gabrielle is the seventh tropical storm of the
Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to
Nov. 30 and is now entering its traditionally busiest period.
(Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Will Dunham)