Storm Gabrielle lashes Puerto Rico

MIAMI - Tropical storm Gabrielle lashed Puerto Rico and neighbouring areas of the Caribbean with heavy rain Thursday, bringing the threat of floods and mud slides.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said that as of 1200 GMT, Gabrielle was located about 65 miles miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour, and was moving toward the northwest at around eight miles (13 kilometers) per hour.

The NHC said Gabrielle was likely to reach the Turks and Caicos on Friday, after dumping as much as a foot (30 centimeters) of rain on Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and eastern sections of the Dominican Republic.

"These rains could cause dangerous flash floods and mud slides over mountainous terrain," the NHC said.