As Tropical Storm Isaias is currently delivering heavy winds and torrential rains to sections of the Dominican Republic and wider northeast Caribbean on Thursday (July 30), meteorologists warn the system could become a category one hurricane by Friday night.
According to the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC), the centre of Tropical Storm Isaias was located near latitude 19.5 North, longitude 70.6 West—or 250 kilometres west-northwest of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic as at 4:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST).
The tropical storm is still clocking maximum sustained winds at 95 kilometres/hour, with higher gusts and is moving in a north-westerly direction near 31 kilometres/hour.
The NHC, in its afternoon advisory, further explained that the tropical storm warning for the central and northwest Bahamas could be upgraded to hurricane warnings as early as this evening into tonight.
Power outages have been reported in sections of Puerto Rico, as well as instances of landslides, flooding and felled trees.
Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for the entire north and south coasts of Dominican Republic; north coast of Haiti; Turks and Caicos Islands; as well as the southeast, central and northwest Bahamas.
A tropical storm watch has also been activated for the east coast of Florida from Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet.
There have been four other tropical storms so far in July: Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo and Hanna.
Other named storms this year have included Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal and Dolly bringing the total number to nine since the start of hurricane season on June 1.
The NHC is also monitoring an area of low pressure just off the West African coast, near the Cabo Verde Islands for further development.
The disturbance has been given a 50 per cent chance of formation over the next five days and could become a tropical depression in the next day or so, the hurricane center indicated.