Puerto Rico under a hurricane watch from Tropical Storm Fiona

HAVANA — Tropical Storm Fiona threatened to dump up to 16 inches (41 centimeters) of rain in parts of Puerto Rico on Saturday, as forecasters put the U.S. territory under a hurricane watch and people braced for potential landslides, severe flooding and power outages.

The storm previously hit various eastern Caribbean islands, with one death reported in the French territory of Guadeloupe. Regional prefect Alexandre Rochet told reporters on Saturday that the body was found on the side of a road after floods washed away a home in the capital of Basse-Terre. More than 20 other people were rescued amid high winds and rain that left 13,000 customers without power.

Fiona was located 145 miles (230 kilometers) southeast of St. Croix Saturday morning with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). It was moving west at 13 mph (20 km/h) on a track that was predicted to pass near Puerto Rico. Forecasters warned that Fiona could be near hurricane strength as it passes through Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Fiona is expected to pass the Dominican Republic on Sunday as a potential hurricane and Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Monday and Tuesday with a threat of heavy rain.

The forecaster issued a hurricane warning for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engaño west to Cabo Caucedo and for the north coast from Cabo Engaño west to Puerto Plata.

In Puerto Rico, authorities opened shelters and closed public beaches, theaters and museums as they urged people to stay indoors.

“It’s time to activate your emergency plan and reach out and help your relatives, especially the elderly who live alone,” said Dr. Gloria Amador, who runs a nonprofit health organization in central Puerto Rico.

At least one cruise ship visit and several flights to the island were canceled, while authorities in the eastern Caribbean canceled school and banned people from water sports as Fiona battered the region.

On the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, authorities reported wind gusts of up to 74 mph (120 km/h), which would be considered a Category 1 hurricane. They also said 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain was fell for three hours in the Gros Morne region.

Fiona, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, is forecast to bring 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rain to eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with as much as 16 inches (41 centimeters) in isolated locations. Rainfall of 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) was forecast for the Dominican Republic, with up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) in places. Life-threatening surf was also possible from Fiona’s winds, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lester in the eastern Pacific Ocean was on a planned track that could make landfall near the Acapulco region on Mexico’s southwest coast Saturday night.

Lester was expected to remain a tropical storm until it hit the Mexican coast. Forecasters warned of potential dangers from heavy rain.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kmph) late Friday. It was centered 110 miles (180 kilometers) southeast of Acapulco and moving northwest at 10 mph (17 km/h).

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Puerto Escondido to Zihuatanejo. The hurricane center said Lester could drop 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rain along the coasts of upper Guerrero state and Michoacán state, with isolated areas getting 12 inches (30 centimeters).

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