Barbadians have been told to remain on their guard for possible flooding.
The warning was issued by the local met office today as it downgraded its flood warning to a flood watch, which is due to remain in effect until midnight Tuesday, following the passage of Hurricane Maria.
In an updated statement issued at 9 p.m. the National Hurricane Center in the United States said the “extremely dangerous” category 5 hurricane was approaching St Croix in the United States Virgin Islands and that a wind gust to 72 miles per hours (mph) had recently been reported in the eastern portion of the island.
At that time Maria was located at 17.1 degrees north, 64.4 degrees west or about 50 miles south-southeast of St Croix, or about 145 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico and was moving west northwest at ten mph, packing winds of 175 mph.
However, trailing feeder bands associated with this system have been producing pockets of moderate to heavy showers, isolated thunderstorms and gusty winds across Barbados and the southern Windward Islands, with forecasters warning that there was still the possibility of some moderate to heavy showers and possible isolated thunderstorms during the late evening hours into tonight.
“Hence the flood warning has been downgraded to a flood watch from noon today Tuesday, September 19, 2017 until midnight,” the Barbados Meteorological Services said in its 11 a.m. bulletin.
It also urged residents to continue to be on alert and to take the necessary precautions, as some flooding was possible.
“In addition, large waves and dangerous rip currents generated by the strong low-level southerly winds will continue to spawn high surf and dangerous rip currents, creating unsafe conditions for small craft operators. Sea bathers and other users of the sea are also advised to stay out of the water, particularly at times of high tide when these conditions could become even more adverse,” the bulletin said, adding that a high-surf advisory and small-craft warning will remain in effect until midnight Tuesday.