The Antigua & Barbuda Meteorological Services reported 11:30 am on Sunday that Tropical Storm Fiona has upgraded to a category one hurricane.
A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the British Virgin Islands, which is expected to experience these storm conditions today.
At 11 am on Sunday, the centre of Fiona was located 146 miles south-southwest of the territory. Forecasters say Fiona is producing sustained winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour (mph) with the likelihood of higher gusts reaching 55 mph. Forecasters further said storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) from the centre.
According to the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), these windy conditions could produce flying debris from small objects, damage to weak infrastructure and loss of electricity.
“Rainfall accumulations of one to four inches are still possible over the next 24 hours. This could produce flash flooding in low-lying and flood-prone areas as well as mudslides,” the DDM said.
“Reports from an air force reserve hurricane hunter aircraft and doppler radar data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours while Fiona moves near Puerto Rico,” the DDM added.
It continued: “Already the roads are being flooded as a result of storm surge. Along with storm surge, seas could reach up to 15 feet which could produce battering waves and rip currents. As a result, mariners and beach-goers should stay in port and avoid the beaches.”
Residents are advised to continue to closely monitor Fiona. The DDM said its next advisory will be at 5 pm or sooner should it become necessary.