By DANIEL MANZO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Tropical Storm Isaias is bringing heavy rain and high winds to Puerto Rico Thursday morning.
The storm is located about 100 miles WSW of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and is moving NW at 21 MPH bringing with it winds of 60 mph.
Tropical Storm force winds extend outward 415 miles from the center and a station in southern Puerto Rico reported a wind gust of 59 mph Thursday morning.
Isaias will likely make a landfall in the Dominican Republic Thursday and be near the Turks and Caicos Islands and Southern Bahamas on Friday.
Some fluctuation in intensity is expected as the storm interacts with the more mountainous terrain in Hispaniola.
If the storm can maintain its organization and some intensity past Hispaniola, there will be some opportunity for strengthening on Friday and Saturday as the storm moves through the warm waters near the Bahamas and east of Florida.
Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect from parts of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, through Puerto Rico, into the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as well as parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas. There is also a Tropical Storm Watch in parts of the northern Bahamas.
Isaias will bring tropical storm force winds of over 50 mph to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Locally 4 to 8 inches of rainfall is expected across these Caribbean Islands, which could cause flash flooding and mudslides. Additionally, there will be dangerous surf.
Over the last 24 hours, some of the model consensus has shifted eastward as the track has shifted eastward. Once the storm passes Hispaniola, there will be a better understanding of how this storm will behave as it moves towards the United States.
If the storm manages to stay east of Florida and avoid a tremendous amount of land interaction, conditions may be conducive for some strengthening off the Southeast coast line.
Water temperatures are very warm along nearly the entire U.S. East Coast and that will help the storm maintain intensity or gain strength slightly.
This is reflected in the official forecast track. The cone of uncertainty includes the possibility of the storm staying just offshore and traveling along the U.S. East Coast into early next week.
If this happens, there could be some impacts to the Georgia, the Carolinas and perhaps the Mid-Atlantic and into part of the Northeast U.S.
Regardless of the exact forecast track, impacts from Isaias remain quite possible along the U.S. East Coast even though the exact location and magnitude of the these impacts remains uncertain.
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