Tropical Storm Jerry formed early Wednesday and is continuing to gain strength with the forecaster’s expectation of becoming a hurricane by Thursday night or Friday morning during the storm’s westward journey, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. update.
Jerry’s maximum sustained winds increased to 50 mph Wednesday morning and picked up its forward motion speed to 14 mph, the NHC said. The system will be considered a Category 1 hurricane when the winds begin blowing at 74 mph.
The tropical storm is heading west-northwest toward the Leeward Islands and is expected to arrive Thursday night as a hurricane.
Jerry is expected to pass north of Puerto Rico Saturday, the NHC said.
Computer forecasts project that the storm could spare the Caribbean with the development of Category 3 Hurricane Humberto which is heading north and is expected to pull Jerry toward its direction. But Jerry’s outer bands could still bring rain and wind to areas such as Puerto Rico.
Jerry’s tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 45 miles from the center.