Officials have told residents of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to expect heavy winds, rainfall, and potential flash flooding on Tuesday and Wednesday as Tropical Storm Karen approaches the area, USA Today reports. The National Hurricane Center said the islands will see two to four inches of rain, with up to eight inches falling in isolated areas. The onslaught of rain could cause flash flooding and mudslides, particularly in mountainous areas. “I urge citizens to be calm but vigilant and update their family plan,” Puerto Rican Gov. Wanda Vázquez wrote on Twitter, after activating the national guard and encouraging those in flood-prone areas to seek shelter on Monday. According to forecasts, Karen could move towards the Bahamas and the U.S. mainland by the end of the week after moving through Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The storm, which prompted a tropical storm watch on the islands, is reportedly about 195 miles south of St. Croix, moving at 8 mph and sustained winds of 40 mph. This comes as the Bahamas is still recovering from Hurricane Dorian, and Puerto Rico is still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Maria in 2017.