Tropical Storm Gonzalo Nears Leeward Islands


MIAMI — Forecasters say Tropical Storm Gonzalo has gained strength as it approaches the Leeward Islands, taking aim at the eastern Caribbean.

Packing top sustained winds of 50 mph (75 kph), Gonzalo was tracking about 50 miles (75 kilometers) northeast of Guadeloupe (gwah-duh-LOOP’) early Monday while moving west at 11 mph (17 kph).

The storm was expected to be nearing Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in coming hours. Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami say Gonzalo could reach hurricane strength sometime Tuesday.

Gonzalo is expected to produce up to 8 inches of rain across the Leeward Islands, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra and Puerto Rico — areas where a hurricane watch is in effect.

Last weekend, Tropical Storm Fay knocked out power to thousands in Bermuda before moving out over open ocean.