Formerly Tropical Depression Seven, Tropical Storm Gabrielle has now formed in southeastern Bahamas on Thursday, September 8. The storm is bringing heavy rains as it approaches Puerto Rico, with isolated areas receiving as much as 10 inches of rain.
The storm is currently located 50 miles south southwest of Ponce, Puerto Rico and 135 miles southeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It has now reached maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour with some wind strengthening possible. Gabrielle is moving northwest at 8 miles per hour, but should turn north northwest by Friday with a decrease in forward moving speed. The center of the storm is predicted to pass over the southwestern Puerto Rico early Thursday morning and east Dominican Republic later in the day. Forecasters predict that Gabrielle will move to the east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Friday, September 9.
Because of the nature of the storm, Puerto Rico and areas of the Dominican Republic, including Cabo Engano to Cabo France Viejo, have been placed under a tropical storm warning. A tropical storm watch is in effect for more areas of the Dominican Republic including Santo Domingo to Cabo Engano. This area may receive tropical storm weather as early as Thursday evening.
Tropical Storm Gabrielle is predicted to bring heavy rains, causing possible flash floods and mud slides. The storm could produce 3 to 6 inches in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and eastern Dominican Republic. Some areas may receive as much as 10 inches of rain.
Residents and vacationers within the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos should continue to track Gabrielle. Tropical storm force winds extend outward from the center of the storm on 45 miles, and are predicted to reach the coast of Puerto Rico as early as Thursday morning and reach the Dominican Republic later in the day.