MIAMI – Tropical Storm Jeanne (search) formed Tuesday in the southeast Caribbean, prompting a spate of hurricane warnings and watches for the islands.
Jeanne had top sustained winds of 60 mph and could become a hurricane Wednesday, according to forecasters with the National Hurricane Center (search) in Miami. It was expected to drop 8 to 12 inches of rain.
Hurricane warnings were issued for Puerto Rico (search) and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning were issued for parts of the Dominican Republic.
Tropical storm warnings were also in effect for the British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis.
Jeanne was on a course that could take it to hurricane-wracked Florida, but it was more than a week away from the state and the storm could change course, said Hector Guerrero, a meteorologist at the hurricane center.
At 11 p.m. EDT, Jeanne was located about 40 miles south-southeast of St. Croix and was moving west-northwest near 8 mph. The storm was expected to approach the center of St. Croix early Wednesday, and to reach Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon.
Jeanne is the 10th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Three have hit Florida, and Ivan is threatening to hit the Panhandle later this week.
Hurricanes Charley and Frances caused up to $20 billion in damage to Florida and killed at least 50 people when they struck the state. Tropical Storm Bonnie caused minimal damage when it struck the Panhandle.