MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Heavy rains from Tropical Depression 13 are expected over the northern Leeward Islands on Friday.

At 11 p.m. Thursday, the center of the system was about 445 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands.

The depression is moving toward the west-northwest near 22 mph, and this motion is expected to continue for the next few days.

On the forecast track, the depression is expected to move near or north of the northern Leeward Islands by late Friday, near or north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Saturday, and near or north of Hispaniola Saturday night.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 35 mph with higher gusts.

Gradual strengthening is forecast, and the depression is likely to become a tropical storm by the weekend.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra
  • S. Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Saba and St. Eustatius
  • Maarten
  • Martin and St. Barthelemy
  • Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla

Interests elsewhere in the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico should monitor the progress of this system, as additional tropical storm watches or warnings will be required for portions of those areas later tonight.