Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Friday discontinued a hurricane watch for the two islands as Tropical Storm, Gonzalo, began losing steam as it made it way towards the southern Windward Islands.
But the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that there “is considerable uncertainty in the intensity forecast, but some strengthening is possible during the next day or so before Gonzalo reaches the southern Windward Islands.
“Weakening is expected after Gonzalo moves into the Caribbean Sea, and the cyclone is expected to dissipate by the middle of next week,” the NHC said in its 2.00 pm (local time) bulletin.
But while Bridgetown and Kingstown have discontinued the hurricane watch, they join St. Lucia in issuing a tropical storm warning indicating that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within 24 to 36 hours. Grenada and Tobago have issued a tropical storm watches and the NHC said that “interests elsewhere in the Windward Islands should monitor the progress of this system.
NHC said that the center of the storm was located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft near latitude 9.9 North, longitude 54.8 West.
“Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 18 miles per hour (mph) (and) a general westward to west-northwestward motion is expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo will approach the southern Windward Islands tonight and then move across the islands on Saturday and over the eastern Caribbean Sea on Sunday.”
The NHC said that while the Hurricane Hunter aircraft has not yet completed its survey of Gonzalo, preliminary data indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts.
“Gonzalo is a small tropical cyclone. Data from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center.”