MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tropical Storm Jerry is strengthening and is likely to become a hurricane soon.

At 11 p.m., the center of the storm was about 675 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

It was moving to the west-northwest at 15 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph with higher gusts.

A west-northwest motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected over the next few days.

On the forecast track, the center of Jerry will be near or north of the northern Leeward Islands Friday and pass north of Puerto Rico on Saturday.

Jerry is forecast to become a hurricane on Thursday, with little change in strength anticipated on Friday or Saturday.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for:

  • Barbuda
  • Anguilla
  • St. Maarten
  • St. Martin
  • St. Barthelemy
  • Saba and St. Eustatius

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch areas by early Friday.

RAINFALL: Jerry is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches with maximum amounts of 3 inches across the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

SURF: Swells generated by Jerry are forecast to affect portions of the northern Leeward Islands by late Thursday.  These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.