BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Tropical Storm Gonzalo strengthened as it makes its way towards the southern Windward Islands on Thursday and a hurricane watch has gone into effect for Barbados.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour (mph) is located 970 miles east of the southern Windward Islands.
The present movement is west at 12mph and that a general westward motion at a faster forward speed is expected followed by a turn towards the west-northwest on Saturday.
“On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo would approach the Windward Islands – Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – late Friday and Saturday.”
The NHC said that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph with higher gusts. It said further strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Gonzalo is expected to become a hurricane later on Thursday.
In its 5.00 am bulletin, the NHC said that a hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
“Interests in the Windward Islands should monitor the progress of this system. Additional watches or warnings will likely be required for some of these islands later today,” the NHC added.
The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season ends on November 30.