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Tropical Storm Franklin strengthens, heads north after soaking Dominican Republic

A flooded street in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, after Tropical Storm Franklin made landfall on Wednesday. Photo by Orlando Barria/EPA-EFE
A flooded street in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, after Tropical Storm Franklin made landfall on Wednesday. Photo by Orlando Barria/EPA-EFE

Tropical Storm Franklin gained strength early Thursday as the slow-moving system made its way toward the north Atlantic after soaking the Dominican Republic.

The 5 a.m. EDT update from the National Hurricane Center shows Franklin becoming a hurricane in a few days while the storm was expected to move north of Bermuda by Tuesday.

On Thursday morning, the storm was moving northeast, away from Turks and Caicos, at nearly 13 mph, while boasting heavy rainfall, internal wind gusts up to 51 mph and a partial eyewall that was continuing to develop.

Franklin was still far offshore of the United States, but close enough to indicate possible weather impacts in the week ahead. Meteorologists have not forecast Franklin to come ashore.

Tracking models show the storm shifting northward due to influence from a mid- to upper-level trough straddling the eastern United States.

A map shows the potential path of Tropical Storm Franklin as of Wednesday. Image courtesy of National Hurricane Center
A map shows the potential path of Tropical Storm Franklin as of Wednesday. Image courtesy of National Hurricane Center

An area of relatively high atmospheric pressure over the subtropics was powering the storm but was expected to weaken as Franklin continued to move east over the tropics.

From there, Franklin was expected to slow down on the open water through Friday before making an unusual turn back toward the United States on Saturday, with tropical force winds extending up to 105 miles out from the center of the storm.

"Franklin appears to be on a gradual strengthening trend, and that is expected to continue through the weekend as the storm remains over warm waters, in a moist environment, and in generally moderate wind shear conditions," the NHC said in a statement.

Franklin made landfall in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday morning and deluged the island of Hispaniola throughout the day, while continuing to cause flash flooding, even though the eye of the storm had moved well past the region.

Franklin is one of four storms to develop this week into a named system during what so far has been a quiet Atlantic hurricane season.