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Storm Fiona threatens Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic

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MIAMI — Tropical Storm Fiona passed near Guadeloupe Friday night, hitting some of the easternmost islands of the Caribbean with strong rain and wind, as forecasters warned the storm could threaten Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic with dangerous rains later.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fiona is likely to become a hurricane near the Bahamas next week.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lester in the eastern Pacific Ocean was on a projected path that could make landfall Saturday near the Acapulco area on Mexico’s southwest coast.

The center said Fiona would move into the eastern Caribbean on Friday evening and then slow its forward movement. It was predicted to be late near Puerto Rico on Saturday and cross the Dominican Republic on Monday.

The forecast called for precipitation totals as high as 12 inches (30 centimeters) in places in eastern and southern Puerto Rico and 16 inches (41 centimeters) in the eastern Dominican Republic. That much rain can cause flash flooding and mudslides on higher ground, and life-threatening surf was possible from Fiona’s winds, the Hurricane Center said.

The sixth storm of the Atlantic hurricane season had maximum sustained winds of about 80 km/h late Friday afternoon, the center said. Little change in strength was expected in the coming days.

Fiona was moving westward at a speed of 15 mph and was about 15 miles northwest of Guadeloupe. Tropical storm warnings were in effect for most of the Leeward Islands.

In the Pacific, Lester was expected to remain a tropical storm until Saturday off the Mexican coast, but forecasters warned of potential dangers from heavy rain.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) early Friday night. It was centered 215 miles (345 kilometers) southeast of Acapulco and was moving northwest at 19 mph.

There was a tropical storm warning from Puerto Escondido to Zihuatanejo. The Hurricane Center said Lester could receive from 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) of rain on the coasts of upper Guerrero State and Michoacan State, with isolated areas reaching 16 inches (41 centimeters).

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