Tropical storm warnings were in effect for several Caribbean islands Sunday night as Tropical Storm Dorian headed toward the region on a path that could send it crashing into Puerto Rico as a hurricane by midweek.
Dorian, the fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed as a tropical depression on Saturday and quickly gathered strength.
Iit was several hundred miles southeast of Barbados on Sunday night, but maximum winds had increased to 50 mph as it moved west at about 14 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
As the Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) issued the first advisory on the system just after 5:00 a.m. today, Sunday, August 25, Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, reminded residents to listen to advisories issued through the Met Office, DEM and the Barbados Government Information Service.
5 PM EDT: #Dorian is strengthening as it continues to move westward toward the Lesser Antilles. Additional Tropical Storm Watches and new Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for some of these islands. https://t.co/iy83hSifGz pic.twitter.com/ZCSeEnJw45— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 25, 2019
As a result, Ms. Hinds is urging the public to ensure that they have their emergency kits, batteries, water, canned goods, and other emergency supplies on hand. Persons should also have emergency plans and important documents close by.
They may also sign-up to receive alerts through the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) by visiting the DEM website and signing up for email notifications. Alternatively, persons with iPhones may visit the Apple Store, while those with android devices may go to the Google Play Store to download the application.
The Director Kerry Hinds further stressed that persons should also ensure the safety of their elderly relatives and be aware of the emergency shelters closest to them. “Don’t wait until it is too late to take precautions. Please remember, it only takes one system to cause disruption,” Ms. Hinds stressed.
In the first tropical storm advisory on the system issued at 5:00 a.m. today, Meteorologist 1, Wayne McGeary, explained that Tropical Storm Dorian was centered near 11.0 degrees north, 51.6 degrees west, or about 555 miles or 890 kilometers east-southeast of Barbados.
A turn northwest was expected overnight, forecasters said, sending the center of Dorian near the Windward Islands late Monday or early Tuesday and into the eastern Caribbean Sea later Tuesday.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, while tropical storm watches were issued for Martinique and Grenada.
Forecasters stressed that the storm's path could shift markedly before it reached populated areas, but the forecast projections late Sunday afternoon suggested Dorian would be a Category 1 hurricane as it approached Puerto Rico about midafternoon on Wednesday.
The system has maximum sustained winds of near 40 miles per hour or 65 kilometers per hour, with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 25 miles or 40 kilometers from the center. The minimum central pressure is 1008 milibars.
Mr. McGeary further explained that the system continues to move towards the west at 13 miles per hour, and on its present track, the center of Tropical Storm Dorian is expected to pass over or near Barbados late Monday, August 26, early Tuesday, August 27.
He added that sustained surface winds between 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts to storm force are expected to spread across Barbados on Monday afternoon and persist into Tuesday. In addition, pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and scattered thunderstorms are expected.
The Meteorologist further noted that rainfall accumulations of at least two to four inches are possible late Monday into Tuesday with isolated higher amounts. As a result, some flash-flooding is likely in low-lying areas. Residents are therefore urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.
Mr. McGeary also cautioned that large easterly to south-easterly swells of 2.5 to 3.5 meters or between eight to 12 feet are also forecast to accompany the system. Low-lying coastlines around the island will be particularly vulnerable at times of high tide. Large waves and dangerous rip-tides can be expected.
He warned that these conditions will create unsafe conditions for small-craft operators and fishermen. Sea-bathers and other users of the sea are also advised to stay out of the water. A High-Surf Advisory and Small-Craft Warning will be in effect from noon on Monday, August 26 until 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 27.
A small-craft warning means that wind-speeds of 25 to 33 knots or 47 to 62 kilometers per hour, and or seas equal to or greater than three meters or 10 feet, will be affecting the marine area.
A High-Surf Advisory is issued when breaking wave action poses a threat to life and property within the surf zone.
The next intermediate advisory will be at 8:00 a.m. and the next complete advisory at 11:00 a.m.