Tropical Storm Dorian churns toward Puerto Rico where governor urges residents to prepare

Puerto Rico's governor has signed an order declaring a state of emergency.

August 27, 2019, 2:58 PM

Tropical Storm Dorian is bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to the Leeward Islands Tuesday as residents in Puerto Rico prepare for a possible impact.

Dorian is expected to strengthen Wednesday as it approaches Puerto Rico, where tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches are in effect.

Though Dorian is forecast to remain a tropical storm as it passes through Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the storm may near hurricane strength and hurricane conditions cannot be ruled out.

PHOTO: The forecast track for Tropical Storm Dorian.
The forecast track for Tropical Storm Dorian.
ABC News
PHOTO: The forecast track for Tropical Storm Dorian.
The forecast track for Tropical Storm Dorian.
ABC News

Puerto Rico could see up to 8 inches of rain as well as flash flooding, life threatening rip currents and surf conditions and possibly near hurricane-strength winds on Wednesday.

PHOTO: Volunteer members of the Roving Response Team remove a tree blocking a road after Tropical Storm Dorian passed overnight in Brighton St. George, Barbados Aug. 27, 2019.
Volunteer members of the Roving Response Team remove a tree blocking a road after Tropical Storm Dorian passed overnight in Brighton St. George, Barbados Aug. 27, 2019.
Nigel R. Browne/Reuters

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez has signed an order declaring a state of emergency as she warned residents to prepare.

"Hurricane Maria was a lesson for us and nearly two years after its devastating passage, today we can say that we are better prepared," Vazquez said Monday.

PHOTO: A woman purchases bottled water from a local grocery store as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Aug. 26, 2019.
A woman purchases bottled water from a local grocery store as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Aug. 26, 2019.
Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters
PHOTO: A man boards up the windows of a beach house in the tourist zone of El Combate as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Aug. 27, 2019.
A man boards up the windows of a beach house in the tourist zone of El Combate as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Aug. 27, 2019.
Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters

More than 7,400 generators and three mega generators are already on the island, according to the governor. 

At least 360 shelters will open with a capacity of holding 48,500 people.

By the end of Tuesday, radios and satellite phones will be delivered to mayors and police departments throughout the island at all municipalities, officials said.

PHOTO: Hotel employees remove beach cots from the pool area in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, Aug. 26, 2019.
Hotel employees remove beach cots from the pool area in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, Aug. 26, 2019.
Andrea de Silva/Reuters

Vazquez added that she is in communication with the White House and there is a new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representative on the island assisting in response coordination.

"The response to Tropical Storm Dorian will be on top of a complex recovery effort," the FEMA spokesperson said. "Even a smaller and less severe storm could have significant impact."

Dorian is forecast to move in between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic Wednesday night into Thursday, affecting residents in the Dominican Republic.

If Dorian still has strength at that point, it may track through the Bahamas and eventually toward Florida this weekend as a tropical storm.

PHOTO: The forecast track for Tropical Storm Dorian.
The forecast track for Tropical Storm Dorian.
ABC News

The East Coast of Florida might be impacted Saturday night into Sunday.

ABC News' Matthew Vann contributed to this report.

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