Tropical Storm Kirk Strengthening on Way Towards Windward Islands

Update (2 p.m.): Tropical Storm Kirk’s maximum sustained winds have increased to 60 miles per hour, but the NHC says little additional change in strength is expected through tomorrow. The storm is 305 miles east of Barbados and 430 miles east southeast of Martinique.

FLORIDA, United States, Wednesday September 26, 2018
– An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft investigating Tropical Kirk late this morning found the system to be a little stronger as it continues on its path towards Barbados and other islands in the Windward Islands.

In its 11 a.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said the storm’s maximum sustained winds had increased to 50 miles per hour. At that time it was located about 360 miles east southeast of Barbados and about 485 miles east southeast of Martinique, still moving towards the west at about 18 miles per hour.

On this track, the centre of Kirk is expected to pass about 50 miles to the north of Barbados between tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon.

“A westward to west-northwestward motion is expected over the next few days. On the forecast track, the centre will move over the Lesser Antilles within the tropical storm warning area Thursday night…Little change in strength is forecast until Kirk crosses the Lesser Antilles, followed by weakening over the eastern Caribbean Sea,” the NHC said.

“Not much additional strengthening is likely, and a weakening trend should commence in a day or so…Strong westerly shear is likely to continue to adversely affect Kirk while it moves over the Caribbean, and the system should weaken into a depression within 72 hours or sooner, and become a remnant low later in the forecast period.”

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Barbados, St Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, while there is still a tropical storm watch for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to the Barbados Meteorological Services, sustained surface winds of between 25 to 35 mph with gusts to storm force are expected to spread across Barbados starting later tonight and persisting into tomorrow.

In addition, pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and scattered thunderstorms are expected.

Kirk is expected to produce total rainfall of 4 to 6 inches across the northern Windward and southern Leeward Islands with isolated maximum totals up to 10 inches across Martinique and Dominica.  The NHC said these rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

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