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Puerto Rico Declares State of Emergency as Fiona Gathers Speed

  • Tropical storm expected to become a hurricane by Sunday
  • Storm will be new test for island’s ailing electrical grid
Tropical Storm Fiona in the Caribbean on Sept. 17.

Tropical Storm Fiona in the Caribbean on Sept. 17.

NOAA via AP

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi declared a state of emergency Saturday as Tropical Storm Fiona barrels toward the US commonwealth and is expected to clip the western tip of the island with hurricane force winds. 

The National Hurricane Center put Puerto Rico under a hurricane warning and the US Virgin Islands and parts of the Dominican Republic under a hurricane watch, meaning hurricane conditions could develop in the next 48 hours. The storm is packing sustained winds of 60 mph with higher gusts, and is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday as it nears Puerto Rico, the agency said in its latest report.