Barbados is expected to begin feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Maria later today.
At 11 p.m. Saturday, the centre of Maria was located near 12.5 degrees north, 53.7 degrees west or about 380 miles or 612 kilometres east of the island.
The system is moving westward near 16 miles per hour (26 km/h). However, a slower west northwestward movement is expected over the next couple of days.
On this present track, forecasters say the centre of the storm is expected to pass approximately 100 miles to the north of Barbados on Monday morning.
Late Saturday, the system was packing maximum sustained winds near 50 miles per hour (85km/h) with higher gusts and further strengthening was expected.
As Maria passes north of the island, the Barbados Meteorological Services said pockets of moderate to heavy showers, thunderstorms and gusty winds were due to spread across the island from late Sunday into Monday.
“Rainfall accumulations of three to five inches (75 to 125mm) are possible [and] 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,” the met office said in its 11 p.m. bulletin.
“Large easterly swells of at least four to six metres (13 to 20 ft) are also forecast to accompany the system. Hence, a high-surf advisory and small craft warning remain in effect until noon Tuesday, September 19,” it added.