BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday August 26, 2019 – Barbados is heading towards a 10 a.m. shutdown – two hours earlier than originally announced – as a small but better organized and stronger Tropical Storm Dorian continues its approach to the island, with impact expected this evening.
The island is under a tropical storm warning, along with St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines which are also in preparation mode as citizens brace for potential impact as Dorian moves through the island chain. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica, Martinique, Grenada and its dependencies, and Saba and St Eustatius, and interests in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola have been advised to monitor the progress of Dorian as watches could be required later today.
Tropical Storm Dorian, with maximum sustained winds near 60 miles per hour, is anticipated to pass over or near Barbados tonight before impacting others in the island chain. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami say it could be near hurricane strength tomorrow and Wednesday while it moves over the eastern Caribbean Sea.
This morning, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that the national shutdown time had moved from noon today to 10 a.m., based on the advice of the Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) and the Department of Emergency Management.
“The advice is that the feeder bans on the outer side of the storm may cause some problems and we don’t want to put anybody at risk. That wind and rain could start as early as midday itself, so that we don’t want to be shutting down at midday,” she said on Voice of Barbados radio this morning.
Stressing that only personnel in essential services were required to report to work today, Prime Minister Mottley advised Barbadians to stay off the road as much as possible.
“I just want to advise Barbadians that those who do not need to go on the road or do not work in areas that are essential, that unless you are going to get a last minute something to prepare yourself, there is no need to go on the road,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the Grantley Adams International Airport will be closed from midday.
At 8 a.m., Tropical Storm Dorian was located about 205 miles east-southeast of Barbados and continued to move towards the west at 14 miles per hour.
“On this track, the centre of Dorian is expected to pass over or near Barbados this evening,” the BMS said in its latest advisory at 8 a.m.
Dorian – which is a small storm with tropical storm winds only extending outwards up to 45 miles from the centre – is expected to pass near St Lucia late today into tonight and near or over St. Vincent early tomorrow morning.
According to the BMS, sustained surface winds between 50 to 60 mph (85 to 97km/h) with higher gusts are expected to spread across Barbados this afternoon and persist into early Tuesday morning.
“In addition, pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and scattered thunderstorms are expected. Rainfall accumulations of at least 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 mm) are possible with isolated higher amounts. As a result, some flash-flooding is likely in low-lying areas thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.”
Large easterly to south-easterly swells of 2.5 to 3.5 metres (8 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. These 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 today until 6 a.m. tomorrow.