Tropical Storm Karen was spinning in the Atlantic on Tuesday after moving over Puerto Rico but the US territory could still struggle with some flash flooding.
The storm drenched the Virgin Islands and passed over Puerto Rico’s eastern islands Vieques and Culebra before moving northeast into the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said.
Even as Karen moves away from Puerto Rico, the strong squalls will continue impacting the area by bringing rainfall and threats of flooding through Wednesday, forecasters said.
“This could be enough to bring down trees, and the infrastructure for power is still weak after Maria, so I anticipate power outages,” CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.
“Strong rip currents will also be a danger for the next few days — (Tuesday) for the southern shores of the islands, and northern shores through Thursday.”
As of Tuesday evening, the center of Karen was about 45 miles east of San Juan and 10 miles north of Culebra. The storm was hurling 45-mph winds as it moved north at 10 mph.
The storm will “move over the western Atlantic (Tuesday night) and Wednesday,” the National Hurricane Center said.
Karen will likely dump up to 6 inches of rain on Puerto Rico, with some isolated areas getting up to 10 inches. “These rains may cause flash flooding and mudslides, especially in mountainous areas,” the hurricane center said.
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced a price freeze order on the island. The price freeze covers gas, diesel and other essential products.
“We emphasize to the citizens to prepare with caution and evaluate if they need to go to a shelter,” she tweeted.
The governor announced she was suspending school on Wednesday.
Puerto Rico’s Department of Education said it was also “taking the necessary measures” to guarantee security during the storm.