Tropical Storm Gabrielle nears Puerto Rico

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(CNN) – Tropical Storm Gabrielle is expected to pound portions of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic with heavy rains Thursday following its upgrade from a tropical depression.

The storm is supposed to bring heavy rain and winds to parts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Follow Gabrielle with our interactive hurricane tracker

Gabrielle is expected to dump as much as 6 inches of rain in parts of Puerto Rico and as much as 10 inches in other places. Winds could reach up to 40 mph during the storm, the hurricane center said.

The center of the storms is about 50 miles South-Southwest of Ponce, Puerto Rico and moving Northwest at 8 mph. The general Norhtwest is motion is expected to continue through Friday before making a North to Northeast turn over the weekend and moving toward Bermuda by early next week.

“These heavier amounts could result in dangerous flash floods and mud slides over mountainous terrain,” forecasters said.

One of the last times the region was hit with devastating rains was in October, when Hurricane Sandy roared through the Caribbean leaving at least 51 dead. That figure includes deaths in Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

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