Tropical Storm Maria is expected to become a hurricane later today as a tropical storm watch remains in effect for Barbados.
At 8 a.m., the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located near latitude 13.3 North, longitude 55.6 West. Maria is
moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h), and this motion with a further reduction in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Maria will be near the Leeward Islands Monday night.
Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km)from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 994 mb (29.36 inches).
As the system draws closer to the region, pockets of moderate to heavy showers, thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected to spread across Barbados from later this morning into Monday.
Rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches (75 to 125mm) are possible.
Due to the already saturated nature of the soil a Flood Warning may be required at short notice. Thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.
In addition, large easterly swells of at least 4 to 6m (13 to 20 ft) are also forecast to accompany the system.
Hence, a high-surf advisory and small-craft warning remains in effect until 12 noon Tuesday, September 19.
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