The latest public advisory from the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) at 8am AST (1pm BST) put Tropical Storm Jerry about 525 miles (845 km) east of the Caribbean Leeward Islands. The NHC said it had “hurricane hunters on the way to Jerry” to gather more information about the developing storm. Jerry is anticipated to become a hurricane before Thursday is up.
Jerry is currently packing maximum sustained winds of 70mph (110kmh) and is moving quickly at 16mph (26kmh) toward the west-northwest.
The NHC said: “A west-northwest motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected over the next few days.
“On the forecast track, the centre of Jerry will be near or north of the northern Leeward Islands Friday and pass north of Puerto Rico on Saturday.”
The advisory added: “Jerry is forecast to become a hurricane later today, with little change in strength anticipated on Friday or Saturday.”
READ MORE: Hurricane Jerry NOAA path update: Will Storm Jerry hit Florida?
Which regions are under warning?
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
- St. Maarten
- St. Martin
- St. Barthelemy
- Saba and St. Eustatius
This means the NHC expects tropical storm conditions within the watch area within 48 hours.
The storm is not forecast to hit the US east coast, but residents are advised to keep an eye on updates as things progress.
As the track is not yet set in stone, interests in the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Bermuda should also watch this storm as it evolves.
Even if Jerry were to pass north of the Leewards, a plume of tropical moisture with drenching showers and gusty thunderstorms may extend south of the centre and pass through the islands.
For the regions at risk, wind, rain and surf will pose the biggest threat to life.
Jerry is expected to produce up to three inches of rain across the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Massive swells generated by the churning storm are forecast to affect portions of the northern Leeward Islands by later on Thursday.
The NHC said: “These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”