Karen strengthened into a tropical storm again on Tuesday and is forecast to bring wind and rain to eastern Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today.
Also, shortly before midnight Monday, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck about 50 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. And although a series of aftershocks were felt, officials reported that there were no reports of significant damage.
Meanwhile, a new tropical disturbance has emerged in the Gulf of Mexico near Cancun, the fourth tropical system in the Atlantic being monitored by the National Hurricane Center.
The system was being given a low chance of developing into a tropical depression and is expected to travel west across the Gulf to the northeastern Mexico coast. It wasn’t considered a threat to Florida or the U.S.
The three named storms in the Atlantic basin, an area that includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, are continuing to evolve, and for Florida, Karen is the one that appears to pose the most uncertainty.
Tropical Storm Karen, which had been downgraded to a depression Monday, regenerated overnight south of Puerto Rico and is expected to bring that island and the Virgin Islands “heavy rain and strong gusty winds” Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
At 8 a.m. Tuesday, Karen was located about 85 miles south of San Juan with maximum winds of 40 mph as it moved north at a slow 7 mph.
“On the forecast track, the center of Karen will pass near or over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and then move over the western Atlantic tonight and Wednesday,” Hurricane Specialist Robbie Berg wrote in the latest advisory.
Tropical Storm Karen is not expected to reach hurricane strength, but its forecast track heading into the weekend is uncertain. Late in the week Karen gets caught between two fronts far out in the Atlantic Ocean and models differ about a possible turn to the west, toward the U.S. mainland.
Some models show Karen making a sharp westward turn on Friday, putting the storm on a straight line westward to Florida.
But it’s too early to determine if this early track would hold, and even if it does, it’s not certain where Karen would ultimately go after that.
Farther north in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Jerry is moving at a slow 8 mph to the north, generally toward Bermuda.
It is expected to pass close to Bermuda by early Wednesday and drop up to 3 inches of rain. Jerry’s top winds weakened slightly overnight to 60 mph, a 5 mph drop from Monday, and additional gradual weakening it is expected, the hurricane center said.
Finally, Tropical Storm Lorenzo, which formed in the eastern Atlantic on Monday morning from what had been Tropical Depression 13, is forecast to become Hurricane Lorenzo by Tuesday night.
On Tuesday morning Lorenzo remained far out in the eastern Atlantic, more than 3,500 miles from South Florida. It was located about 310 miles southwest of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands and had maximum winds of 65 mph as it moved west at 16 mph.
Though Lorenzo is forecast to become a major Category 3 hurricane later this week, the storm is expected to remain over the open waters of the Atlantic and pose no threat to land.