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Tropical Storm Fiona Tracking Towards Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola

National Hurricane Center's Acting Director Jamie Rhome: "Strong westerly winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere are ... blowing the thunderstorm activity off of this low level circulation" and "that's good news ... wind shear will typically inhibit significant development."

Florida - Thursday September 15, 2022: The National Hurricane Center declared Tropical Depression 7 a tropical storm late Wednesday night and it has been named Fiona, the seventh named storm of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season.

Late Thursday morning Fiona was about 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands with winds of 50 mph with gusts up to 65 mph. It was tracking west at 15 mph.

During a live-stream briefing about 11 am Thursday National Hurricane Center's Acting Director Jamie Rhome said "strong westerly winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere are shearing the system, or rather blowing the thunderstorm activity, off of this low level circulation."

Rhome called that "good news" saying the wind shear will "typically inhibit significant development." There may be a slow and steady increase in intensify, but no rapid development is expected.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the northern Leeward Islands including Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Monserrate, Anguilla, Saba, and St. Eustasies. Tropical storm conditions are expects over those islands by Friday night.

Over the weekend Fiona is forecast to track over or near the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Where Fiona heads after that said Rhome is "uncertain." He pointed out that Hispaniola has mountains up to 10,000 feet which "could play a big part" in where Fiona goes next.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are possible across portions of the northern Leeward Islands by Friday night, where a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect.

RAINFALL: Fiona is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with isolated higher amounts across the northern Leeward Islands, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola. These rains may produce flash and urban flooding, along with isolated mudslides in areas of higher terrain.

SURF: Swells generated by Fiona are expected to begin affecting the northern Leeward Islands by early Friday. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

The storm is pushing against dry air and somewhat hostile upper winds, which should keep it from suddenly intensifying, if it intensifies much at all.

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