Storm Dorian likely to strengthen into hurricane

Tropical Storm Dorian was likely to strengthen into a hurricane during the next two days as it churned westward in the Caribbean Sea, putting Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles and the Virgin Islands on alert, forecasters said on Sunday.

The storm, 465 miles (750 km) east-southeast of Barbados, packed 40 mph winds as it headed west at 14 mph. It was forecast to be near the central Lesser Antilles late on Monday or early Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a midday advisory on Sunday.

"Right now, it's a tropical storm and we are expecting it to strengthen close to or reaching hurricane intensity as it approaches," NHC meteorologist Michael Brennan told Reuters.

Dorian was expected to turn toward the west-northwest on Monday and continue on that path through Tuesday night, the NHC said.

As of Sunday afternoon, Barbados was under a tropical storm warning while a tropical storm watch was in effect for St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The NHC was likely to issue additional watches for portions of the Windward and Leeward Islands on Sunday, Brennan said, noting that Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hispaniola should monitor Dorian's progress.

"We are approaching the peak of the hurricane season so everybody in the Caribbean and along the U.S. South, Gulf and East Coast needs to be aware and follow these systems," Brennan said.

Dorian's winds could weaken as it passes south of Puerto Rico and approaches Hispaniola.

Many Caribbean islands are likely to receive 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) of rain, but some part of the Lesser Antilles islands could get 6 inches, the NHC said.

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Tropical Storm Nate ravages Central America
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Tropical Storm Nate ravages Central America
Dogs sit on the shore of the Masachapa river, flooded by heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
People in a neighborhood are evacuated due to the danger of a mudslide during heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in Alajuelita, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
The flooded Tiribi river is seen during heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate that affects the country in San Jose, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
A resident watches the rising waves in Masachapa beach during heavy rains due to Tropical Storm Nate in the city of Masachapa, about 60km from the city of Managua on October 5, 2017. A tropical storm sliding north along Central America Thursday has unleashed heavy rains killing at least nine people in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with forecasters predicting it could strengthen into a hurricane headed for the United States. / AFP PHOTO / INTI OCON (Photo credit should read INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images)
A men cleans a street flooded by Tiribi river during heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate that affects the country in San Jose, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Residents look at the floodings of the Masachapa River following the passage of Tropical Storm Nate in the city of Masachapa, about 60km from the city of Managua on October 5, 2017. A tropical storm sliding north along Central America Thursday has unleashed heavy rains killing at least nine people in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with forecasters predicting it could strengthen into a hurricane headed for the United States. / AFP PHOTO / INTI OCON (Photo credit should read INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents look at the floodings of the Masachapa River following the passage of Tropical Storm Nate in the city of Masachapa, about 60km from the city of Managua on October 5, 2017. A tropical storm sliding north along Central America Thursday has unleashed heavy rains killing at least nine people in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with forecasters predicting it could strengthen into a hurricane headed for the United States. / AFP PHOTO / INTI OCON (Photo credit should read INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers clear rubble from a road following the passage of Tropical Storm Nate in the city of El Crucero, about 20km from the city of Managua on October 5, 2017. A tropical storm sliding north along Central America Thursday has unleashed heavy rains killing at least nine people in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with forecasters predicting it could strengthen into a hurricane headed for the United States. / AFP PHOTO / INTI OCON (Photo credit should read INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images)
Dogs stand near on a road partially collapsed by heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate that affects the country in El Llano de Alajuelita, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
A resident look at damage caused by heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate on Masachapa river in outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua October 5,2017.REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
A resident stands on the shore of the Masachapa river, flooded by heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
Mayor's workers repairs Pan-American highway damaged by heavy rains by tropical storm Nate in Rivas, Nicaragua October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
A damaged boat is pictured on the shore of San Juan del Sur Bay after tropical storm Nate in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua October 6,2017.REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
Local residents cross a river flooded by heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in Nandaime town, Nicaragua October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
People in a neighborhood are evacuated due to the danger of a mudslide during heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in Alajuelita, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
View of damages caused by the passage of Tropical Storm Nate, near Goascoran, in Valle department, Honduras on October 6, 2017. Tropical Storm Nate gained strength as it headed toward popular Mexican beach resorts and ultimately the US Gulf coast after dumping heavy rains in Central America that left at least 22 people dead. / AFP PHOTO / ORLANDO SIERRA (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy collects wood from a damaged, stranded boat in San Juan del Sur beach, following the passage of Tropical Storm Nate, in Rivas some 140km from Managua, Nicaragua, on October 6, 2017 Tropical Storm Nate gained strength as it headed toward popular Mexican beach resorts and ultimately the US Gulf coast after dumping heavy rains in Central America that left at least 22 people dead. / AFP PHOTO / INTI OCON (Photo credit should read INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images)
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