St Lucia activates tropical storm warning; Barbados, Martinique and Dominica raise alert level to tropical storm watch
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has dispatched US Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft today (June 21) to investigate Tropical Storm Bret, which has strengthened slightly ahead of its passage through the Eastern Caribbean on Thursday.
The NHC, in its latest advisory, indicated while some additional development is possible in the coming hours, the system is still expected to fizzle into a low remnant by Saturday.
As at 11:00 am Atlantic Standard Time (AST), the centre of Tropical Storm Bret was located near latitude 13.0 North, longitude 52.5 West—or roughly 760 kilometres east of Barbados.
Bret is moving west near 22 kilometres/hour and packs maximum sustained winds at 95 kilometres/hour, with higher gusts.
In anticipation of some impacts from storm-force winds and heavy rains, the government of St Lucia has activated a tropical storm warning, while tropical storm watches are in effect for Barbados, Martinique and Dominica.
For its part, the Jamaica Meteorological Service indicated late Tuesday that with updated projections, the likelihood of any impact from Bret has dramatically fallen.
On the forecast track, the centre of Bret is expected to approach the Lesser Antilles on Thursday, move between St Lucia and Martinique late Thursday into Thursday night, and then move westward across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea Friday and Saturday.
“Some increase in strength is forecast before Bret reaches the Lesser Antilles. Weakening is expected by Friday once Bret moves over the Caribbean Sea, and the system is likely to dissipate on Saturday,” the NHC forecast noted.
While no longer reaching hurricane strength as previously predicted, Bret still looms menacingly as tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 95 kilometres from the centre.
Through Saturday, the NHC warned that storm total rainfall amounts of three-to-six inches, with maximum amounts of 10 inches, are possible across portions of the Lesser Antilles from Guadeloupe south to St Vincent, including Barbados.
This heavy rainfall, NHC meteorologists added, could lead to flash flooding, especially across areas of higher terrain. Urban flooding is also possible.
Meanwhile, Invest93, barrelling behind Bret in the central tropical Atlantic Ocean, was observed to have become better organised overnight.
Environmental conditions for the disturbance, located nearly midway between the Cabo Verde Islands and the Eastern Caribbean, remain conducive with a tropical depression likely to form over the next few days.
Formation probability is ‘high’ at 70 and 80 per cent respectively in the next two-to-seven days.