TS Don Lashes SE Caribbean

TS Don Lashes SE Caribbean

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Tropical Storm Don began lashing the southeast Caribbean with heavy rain and wind on Tuesday as it approached the region after forming in the Atlantic Ocean.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, while a tropical storm watch was lifted for Bonaire late Tuesday.

"The shutters are up," said Joan Charles, administrative assistant at Barry's Country Retreat, a hotel in Grenada. "I just hope the whole island is spared as much as possible."

The storm weakened as it approached the region, with maximum sustained winds dropping to 40 mph (65 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. It was located about 35 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Grenada and was moving west at 22 mph (35 kph) late Tuesday afternoon, forecasters said.

The government of Grenada closed all businesses on Tuesday afternoon as it prepared to open shelters across the island. The Maurice Bishop International Airport is scheduled to close early Tuesday evening and reopen by late Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, the island's water and sewer authority said it would switch off all water systems until further notice.

The storm's center is expected to move through the Windward Islands late Tuesday and drop between 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rain across Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and other nearby islands through Wednesday morning. Officials in Grenada said people should expect between two to five inches (5 to 13 centimeters) of rain starting Tuesday afternoon. They also warned of landslides and said waves of up to nine feet (three meters) were expected.

Forecasters said Don is expected to further weaken late Tuesday or Wednesday.

In the Pacific, meanwhile, Hurricane Fernanda regained strength far out to sea. It was centered about 1,415 miles (2,280 kilometers) east of Hilo, Hawaii, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph) and was moving to the northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

And newly formed Tropical Storm Greg was edging away from the Mexican coast. It was centered about 435 miles (700 kilometers) southwest of the Mexican port of Manzanillo with winds of 40 mph (65 kph). It was moving west at 9 mph (15 kph).