Hurricane Isaias bore down on Puerto Rico, bringing high winds, flash-flood warnings and up to 8 inches of rain in some areas as forecasters predicted it would hit south Florida on Saturday, the U.S. Weather Service said.
Isaias started as a tropical storm and was declared a hurricane late Thursday by the National Hurricane Center.
"Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft data indicate that the tropical storm has strengthened to a hurricane," the center said in an update statement. "The maximum winds are estimated to be 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts."
Bahamas officials issued a hurricane warning for the central and southeastern parts of the nation.
The storm will produce “potentially life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides” in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, northern Haiti, and the Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center said.
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands should expect “tropical storm conditions” throughout the morning, as the storm heads west Thursday and Friday, the hurricane center said. The islands should expect three to six inches of rain, and up to eight inches in “isolated” areas, the National Weather Service said.
The weather service said the U.S. Virgin Islands, eastern Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola might see rivers flood, as well as urban and small streams.
“Life-threatening surf and rip current conditions” are forecasted in places where Isaias will pass through, it said.
The east coast of Florida was under a tropical storm watch.