*******Note that forecasts and outlooks in this post are NOT the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). They are my own detailed views on the Atlantic tropics based on current observations and latest computer model runs. As such do not make decisions based on my posts...consult news media...watches and warnings from your local weather office...and any evacuation orders issued by local governments to make the most informed and best decisions. Visit the NHC website hurricanes.gov (hurricanes dot gov) for the latest watches/warnings and official forecasts on active tropical cyclones.**********
...SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18 2022 7:35 PM EDT...
With the center of circulation approaching Puerto Rico... Tropical Storm Fiona became a hurricane at 11 AM EDT today. The following is infrared satellite and Doppler radar presentation of Hurricane Fiona as of 2220Z... shortly after the eye passed over the southwest corner of Puerto Rico. The black line represents the path the eye has taken on Doppler radar over the last several hours:
Since full update #104 earlier today... Tropical Storm Fiona became a hurricane while the eye was observed to bend more west and less north in track... this track now means the eastern Dominican Republic and eastern Bahamas are at risk for tropical storm force winds on the west side of Fiona:
(1) Aircraft reconnaissance data suggests Fiona became a hurricane with 80 mph max sustained winds with a 987 mb surface central pressure at 11 AM EDT
(2) Fiona strengthened further to 85 mph max sustained winds and 986 mb pressure at 2 PM EDT
(3) Due to the more westward and less northward track of the eye... the eye did not move across Puerto Rico and instead clipped the southwest corner of Puerto Rico at 3:35 PM EDT
In lieu of the above observations... the following are updates regarding expected impacts to land areas:
(1) For the Virgin Islands... tropical storm force gusts have ended. Heavy rainfall with flash flooding potential and coastal surf will remain hazards for the next several hours.
(2) For Puerto Rico... tropical storm force winds have overspread the island for much of today. Winds likely reached hurricane force over the southwestern corner of the island. Tropical storm force winds will likely diminish through tonight as Fiona begins to pull away. Heavy rainfall with flash flooding potential and coastal surf will remain additional hazards for the next several hours.
(3) Interests in the eastern Dominican Republic should have finished preparations for tropical storm conditions by now. Due to the more westward and less northern track that Fiona has taken over the last several hours... in addition to coastal surf heavy rainfall with flash flooding potential and tropical storm force winds are now likely to develop tonight and affect the area through a good portion of Monday. Hurricane force winds are possible for the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic... as well as the north-facing coast of the eastern Dominican Republic.
(4) For the Bahamas... the eastern islands are now under a tropical storm warning due to Fiona's more westward and less northward track. Preparations for tropical storm conditions should be finished by Monday evening. The easternmost islands should be on guard for potentially strong hurricane force conditions in case an additional westward wobble in the track of the hurricane occurs... as additional strengthening of Fiona is anticipated after the hurricane clears Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Coastal surf will also reach the eastern and central islands as Fiona intensifies.
(5) Bermuda should closely monitor the progress of Fiona as it has potential to pass over or just west of the island as a potentially strong hurricane by Wednesday.
(6) I recommend interests in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia... Prince Edward Island... Newfoundland... eastern Quebec... and eastern Labrador become aware of Fiona as it has potential to move into the region as a hurricane-force remnant frontal cyclone by the latter part of this upcoming week.
Here are some of the latest Virgin Islands (VI) and Puerto Rico (PR) National weather service station reports of wind (in mph) generated by Fiona over the last several hours (available at weather.gov). Shortly before the eye passed over southwestern Puerto Rico... the weather station near Ponce went offline and the last valid report was at 13:50 local time:
**Saint Croix VI...sustained 32...gust 52 (5:53 local time)
**Saint Croix VI...sustained 16...gust 21 (now)
**Saint Thomas VI...sustained 35...gust 52 (11:16 local time)
**Saint Thomas VI...sustained 23...gust 30 (now)
**San Juan PR...sustained 32...gust 45 (11:56 local time)
**San Juan PR...sustained 18...gust 24 (now)
**Ponce PR...sustained 52...gust 60 (13:50 local time)