BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, August 31, 2007 – The 6th tropical depression of the season formed Friday evening close to the southern Windward Islands where tropical storm warnings were issued for some which are under threat.
Grenada and the southern Grenadines seem as the immediate targets of what could be Tropical Storm Felix on Saturday.
The centre is forecast to pass about 12 miles south of the Grenadine islands of Petite St Vincent, Union Island, Mayreau, and Palm Island – the site of a multi-million dollar upscale residential resort by the family of former prime minister of St Vincent, Sir James Mitchell.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tobago, and Grenada for the low latitude cyclone while watches were posted for some territories further south. These were: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and sections of Venezuela – from Cumana to Perdernales on the north coast and the island of Margarita just north of Venezuela.
The National Hurricane Centre said that low wind shear and warm Caribbean Sea water provide the right ingredients for slow intensification however large scale computer models are not very excited about this system. These models do not envisage that the depression would actual become a tropical storm and would die a natural death sooner rather than later.
Close proximity to land could be a factor that would inhibit rapid development forecaster said.
Nevertheless, based on various intensity models, the centre is forecasting that this depression will become Tropical Storm Felix on Saturday and a category one hurricane by mid-next week.
Unlike 2004 when Hurricane Ivan passed south of Grenada, this system is forecast to pass just north and possibly over or close to the southern Grenadine islands.
The strongest winds are in the northeast quadrant of cyclones in the northern hemisphere and this means that the southern Grenadine islands will bear the brunt of this storm.
AT 500pm EST the centre of tropical depression 6 was located near 11.8 north and 58.6 west or 180 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands.
The depression is moving westward at 16mph with sustained winds near 35mph. Central minimum pressure is 1008mb.
The hurricane centre said this system could produce rainfall of two to five inches.