Tropical Storm Laura forms in Atlantic, storm shifts west

Tropical Storm Laura forms in Atlantic, storm shifts west

TS Laura forecast to be a hurricane near Florida

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A tropical storm watch and alert remains in effect for the southeastern and central Bahamas respectively, as Tropical Storm Laura shifts west in the Atlantic.

“Residents in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeast Bahamas should continue making preparation for tropical storm conditions beginning early Sunday morning, and residents in the central Bahamas should begin to prepare for tropical storm conditions beginning Sunday afternoon,” the Department of Meteorology said.

“Residents in the northwest Bahamas should continue to closely monitor the alerts issued by the Bahamas Department of Meteorology.”

The southeastern islands include Inagua, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Acklins, Ragged Island, Long Cay and Samana Cay.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning — “in this case within the next 12 to 24 hours”, according tot he National Hurricane Center.

A tropical storm watch also remains in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands, the northern coast of Haiti, and the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.

The tropical storm alert  for the central Bahamas, includes Long Island, Cat Island, Exuma, Rum Cay, San Salvador, South Eleuthera and South Andros.

A tropical storm alert means that tropical storm conditions could be experienced within 60 hours.

“Interests in Cuba and the remainder of The Bahamas should monitor the progress of Laura,” the center said.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for Antigua, Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Montserrat, St Maarten and the British Virgin Island.

Forecast models now show the system moving to the Straits of Florida Straits between Cuba and the Keys as a tropical storm on Monday morning, before passing near Key West as a hurricane and into the Gulf of Mexico.

As of this morning, Laura was 820 miles east-southeast of Grand Turk.

As of 11am, Laura was toward the west near 18 miles per hour and general travelling west-northwest motion with increased forward speed expected over the next couple of days.

On the forecast track, the center of the storm is expected to now move near or over the northern Leeward Islands later today, near or over Puerto Rico Saturday morning, and near the northern coast of Hispaniola late Saturday and early Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds were 45 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Slow strengthening was expected over the next 48 hours, the center said.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles from the center.

One to three inches of rain with isolated maximum total of five inches in the warning area later today through Saturday, according to meteorologists.

“Tropical storm conditions are possible within portions of the watch area Saturday night and early Sunday,” the center said.