Hurricane watch still in effect

Tropical Storm Gonzalo has weakened but a hurricane watch remains in effect for Barbados.

A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of hurricane-force winds.

Barbados Meteorological Services said that at 5 p.m. on Thursday Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located near 9.8N 49.4W or about 725MI (1170 km) east south east of Barbados. The maximum sustained winds of the system remained near 60 mph (95 km/h). Storm-force winds extend outward only to 25 miles (35 km) from the centre.

The system is moving westward at 13 mph (km/h). A general westward to west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected through the weekend.

On its current forecast track, the centre of Tropical Storm Gonzalo is expected to pass approximately 85 miles (137 km) to the south of Barbados on Saturday.

“Gonzalo is currently wrapping mid level dry air into its core, which is contributing to its poor appearance on satellite imagery. Despite this, some restrengthening is still possible during the next couple of days, and there is still a chance that Gonzalo could become a hurricane within 36 to 48 hours or so,” the Met Office said.

The intensity forecast remains very problematic and of low confidence due to the small size of the cyclone and occasional dry air entrainment.

Sustained storm force winds are likely to spread across Barbados from Saturday morning, possibly increasing to hurricane force by Saturday afternoon. Sustained wind speeds of 60 to 75 mph (97 to 120 km/h) with higher gusts are likely to affect the island.

Rough to very rough sea swells are expected.

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