UPDATE: At 8 a.m, the NHC said a report from the Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicates that the wave is producing winds of 40 to 45 mph. Satellite and surface observations suggest that the circulation associated with the system has become better defined, and the reconnaissance aircraft will determine whether a tropical storm has formed.
FLORIDA, United States, Wednesday September 28, 2016 – A Hurricane Hunter is checking out the strong tropical wave off Barbados that has been slow to develop into a storm.
At last check yesterday afternoon, the system which is still designated Invest 97L, didn’t have a closed circulation, so its status could not be upgraded.
This morning’s reconnaissance mission will determine whether that has changed.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) September 28, 2016
But even before the report from that mission comes back, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami is saying a tropical depression or storm is “likely to form later today”.
In the early hours of this morning, the tropical wave was located about 170 miles east of Barbados. The disturbance was producing winds to near tropical storm force, and the associated thunderstorm activity continued to show signs of organization, the NHC said in a 2 a.m. advisory.
The system started to affect Barbados throughout the course of last night with some widely scattered light to moderate showers and occasional gusty winds. Conditions are expected to further deteriorate during the morning, with some pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain, thunderstorms and gusty winds.
Once the centre of the tropical wave passes the island during the early morning, sustained wind speeds of 25 to 35 mph with higher gusts are expected to spread across the island, the Barbados Meteorological Services said.
The NHC said the system is moving westward to west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph, and is expected to pass over the Windward Islands later today, and move over the southeastern Caribbean Sea tonight and tomorrow.
Regardless of whether the system is a tropical wave or is upgraded to a storm, heavy rains and tropical-storm-force winds in squalls are expected to spread over the Windward Islands and portions of the southern Leeward Islands, beginning this morning and continuing through tonight and early tomorrow.
The NHC advised interests in the Windward and southern Leeward Islands, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, and along the northern coast of South America to monitor the progress of the system.