Tropical Storm Gabrielle was downgraded to a tropical depression Thursday morning but still was expected to drop a fair amount of rain on Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, forecasters said.
According to CNN, tropical depression Gabrielle is still expected to dump up to four inches of rain in parts of Puerto Rico and up to eight inches in other places.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami have lifted tropical-storm watches and warnings they had issued for Puerto Rico.
The report continues on to say that the government of the Dominican Republic has done likewise for areas along its coast that would have been affected.
While forecasters believe that Gabrielle will fully fizzle out within the next 36 hours, there is still the chance that the storm could reorganize and strengthen.
Fox News reported that the storm is expected to strengthen slightly in the next two days.
Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla activated the National Guard, canceled classes at all public schools, and closed central government agencies as a precaution.
Fox News continued on to say that while rains seemed to diminish by mid-morning on Thursday, they were expected to intensify again and last through Friday, according to state meteorologist Ernesto Morales.
“We should not lower our guard,” he said. “The storm is very dangerous. There’s a very high possibility of flooding.”
Miguel Rios, director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, said the tropical storm was interacting with a cluster of storms hovering above Puerto Rico’s northeast coast.
“In the next 36 hours, we can experience heavy rains at any moment,” he said. “We must remain on alert.”
With the unexpected nature of these storms, it is always important to remain alert. So paying attention to the warnings is a key safety step, even while watching Tropical Storm Gabrielle be downgraded to a tropical depression.