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Tropical Depression Karen Rolling Toward Puerto Rico And U.S. Virgin Islands

Tropical storm advisories have been issued as meteorologists are watching three storms in the Atlantic basin.

The one most likely to hit land soon is Karen, which was degraded to a tropical depression as it slowly rolls toward Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the southeastern Caribbean Sea bringing torrential, life-threatening rainfall and flooding.

Karen is 175 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico and 135 miles south-southwest of St. Croix with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and moving north-northwest at 13 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center's 5:00 p.m. ET advisory.

Puerto Rico's Gov. Wanda Vázquez has ordered the closure of schools and public agencies, and activated the National Guard.

The center of Karen, described by the NHC as "increasingly disorganized," is forecast to pass near or over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands late Monday or Tuesday morning. Residents are warned to "prepare for dangerous rainfall flooding," with 2 to 4 inches of rain forecast and the possibility of 8 inches in isolated areas.

"Major rainfall flooding may prompt many evacuations and rescues. Rivers and tributaries may rapidly overflow their banks in multiple places. Small streams, creeks, canals, arroyos, and ditches may become dangerous rivers. In mountain areas, destructive runoff may run quickly down valleys while increasing susceptibility to rockslides and mudslides. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed," the NHC said in an advisory earlier Tuesday.

Experts are also watching Tropical Storm Lorenzo, currently about 225 miles south-southwest of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands. It is moving west at 16 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. Lorenzo is expected to gain hurricane strength, perhaps as soon as Tuesday and become a major hurricane by later this week. But the NHC has not issued any coastal watches or warnings.

Finally, Tropical Storm Jerry is slowly heading towards Bermuda. Currently, it is about 340 miles southwest of Bermuda with maximum winds of 65 mph. "The center of Jerry is expected to pass near Bermuda by early Wednesday ... gradual weakening is forecast during the next few days," the NHC reported. Nevertheless, Jerry will likely bring tropical storm-force winds by late Tuesday and 1 to 3 inches of rain are forecast.

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Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.