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Posted: Saturday, 23 August 2014 4:37PM

Tropical depression forms, heads for Bahamas

The U.S. Hurricane Center says a tropical depression has formed and it is dumping heavy rains on parts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as it heads for the Bahamas.

The hurricane center said the fourth depression of the Atlantic hurricane season formed on Saturday afternoon. The system is expected to strengthen and a tropical storm warning has been issued for the Turks and Caicos and parts of the Bahamas. Forecasters say it could bring up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain.

Forecasters in San Juan are calling for up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain for parts of region. Officials say nearly 3,500 customers were without power there, and more than 3,550 without water.

The depression has sustained winds of 35 mph (56 kph). It is expected to become a tropical storm Sunday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A cluster of storms in the northern Caribbean headed toward the Bahamas on Saturday as meteorologists warned it could soon strengthen into a tropical depression or a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving west-northwestward and would pass over or near the southeastern Bahamas. It was still generating heavy rains and wind over parts of Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

The storm is expected to also unleash heavy rains over the Turks and Caicos islands and had an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm by late Saturday or Sunday.

The system previously downed several trees and power lines in Puerto Rico, as well as leaving thousands of people without power or water.

The storm is expected to move near or across the central Bahamas on Sunday.

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