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(CNN) - The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning and a hurricane alert for Puerto Rico on Tuesday morning while tropical storm Dorian continues to advance through the Caribbean toward the island.
The storm, which weakened a bit overnight when it struck Barbados, is expected to pass near or south of Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon and at night as a strong tropical storm.
A hurricane alert means that hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours and a tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.
- READ: Puerto Rico prepares for Dorian's possible change from tropical storm to hurricane
The governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez Garced, has urged Puerto Ricans to prepare for the coming storm. Vázquez Garced declared a state of emergency for the island on Monday.
"I urge citizens to activate their emergency plan with caution and peace of mind," Vázquez said on Twitter. "For citizens who do not yet have safe roofs, we will have shelters ready."
The official government Twitter account said Monday that there were 360 shelters open across the island for a capacity of 48,500 residents. And about 70 hospitals were prepared to handle emergencies, the government said.
After passing through Puerto Rico, Dorian is forecast to move near or east of Hispaniola and move north on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.
At the end of the week, what is left of Dorian is expected to move to the Bahamas and possibly to the southeastern parts of the United States. Forecasts show that Dorian will arrive on the Florida peninsula sometime this weekend as a tropical storm.
But it is still too early to know what the impact will be, said CNN meteorologist Haley Brink.
- READ: Tropical storm Dorian is expected to become a hurricane near Puerto Rico
Where is he now
The dawn of Tuesday, the storm progressed slowly to 80 km / h, a little weaker than Monday, after its close passage through the island of Barbados.
"Saint Lucia seems to be the target (Monday night) for tropical storm conditions," including strong winds and heavy rains, Brink said. The island raised its hurricane alert, but remains under a tropical storm warning, the center said.
Dorian will pour up to 20.3 centimeters of rain over the Windward Islands until Tuesday, and some areas may have more than 25.4 centimeters of water.
Tropical storm conditions are likely in the Lesser Antilles until Tuesday morning and in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, the center said.
And the storm will only intensify as it crosses into the Caribbean Sea and possibly becomes a hurricane.
Puerto Rico and Florida prepare
Puerto Ricans, still dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, are on alert for what might come.
"Fortunately I have been preparing since May," said Krystle Rivera, whose family has been storing water, canned food and gas in anticipation of hurricane season.
This is crazy! Ridiculous shouldn't there be some type of limite so everyone can get some #PuertoRico #water #crazy pic.twitter.com/aU5f9YLb6q
- krystle rivera (@ 420china) August 25, 2019
The Department of Education of the territory said that public schools will be open only until 1 pm on Tuesday according to the governor's instructions, to allow the preparation of shelters and staff, the government said.
FEMA interim administrator Peter Gaynor said the agency has placed supplies in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands before the storm, more than it was before Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
"Four incident management assistance teams are being deployed today, and another one is waiting," he said on Twitter.
In South Florida, a team of more than 200 people from 30 different fire departments was preparing to deploy on the road to the storm Monday night, the CNN affiliate WPLG.
"In this particular situation, we will be there before the storm arrives, so we will get a little familiar with the area we will be responsible for," said Miami fire rescue assistant chief Scott Dean. "We are going to pass the storm where our base of operations will be located, and then, as soon as the storm passes and is safe, our members will take to the streets and begin operations and protect search and rescue efforts."
This is the hurricane peak season
Dorian is the fourth storm named for this hurricane season, a season that generally peaks in the eight weeks surrounding September 10.
Two thirds of all storms produced in a typical season occur during this period.
That is because that is the time when conditions in the tropics become paramount for the development of storms. In late August, the waters in the tropics have warmed and the wind shear across the Atlantic begins to weaken.
And this year, the El Niño phenomenon has dissipated, making the conditions even more favorable for its development.