Tropical Storm Dorian Update: Winds Increase, Warnings Issued in Caribbean As Storm Strengthens And Nears

The National Hurricane Center on Sunday evening stated Tropical Storm Dorian continues to gain strength as it moves westward. Maximum sustained wind speeds have increased to 50 mph and the storm is moving westward at 14 mph, an increase from Saturday.

Sunday afternoon the center of TS Dorian was approximately 75 miles east-southeast of Barbados. A tropical storm warning has been issued for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, while storm watches have been issued for other islands in the Lesser Antilles like Grenada and Martinique, according to CBS News.

The National Hurricane Center states TS Dorian is expected to dump anywhere from 2- to 4-inches of rain on the islands in the next couple of days. Some isolated areas could receive up to six inches of rain in a short amount of time.

"Residents in these area should refer to advice from local government officials and products from their local meteorological service for additional information," NHC said in a statement.

The service said it is too soon to predict how much rain or damage Dorian could do to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Hispaniola or any other areas close by.

Dorian is projected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane by Tuesday or Wednesday, which means wind speeds will have reached a minimum of 75 mph.

The track of Dorian remains uncertain as the storm develops while moving into the Caribbean. The early projections show it can move westward into the Gulf of Mexico or head northwest toward Cuba, the Florida Keys and South Florida.

When Saturday began, Dorian was merely a tropical disturbance that gained enough strength to become Tropical Depression Five of the Atlantic season. But by the same afternoon, it picked up enough sustained winds that reached 40 mph, elevating the status to tropical storm, and thus giving it a name.

With warm Atlantic and Caribbean waters, Dorian is expected to keep increasing in wind speed while forming a more definitive eye and storm path. Though the center of the storm might not pass over any of the main islands south and east of the United States — Puerto Rico and Hispaniola — the outer bands of winds could reach these islands that have been battered by storms in recent years — most notably Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Maria was a high-level Category 4 storm that obliterated much of Puerto Rico, leveling houses, crippling infrastructure and killing more than 3,000 people. Most of the island still has not fully recovered, and it has caused a rift between major political parties in the United States.

The National Hurricane Center has said it will give updates to the status of Dorian every three hours.

Hurricane Maria
Storm clouds forms as Hurricane Maria approaches the island in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, on September 19, 2017. Maria headed towards the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday after battering the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, with the US National Hurricane Center warning of a "potentially catastrophic" impact. Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images