Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours were Friday advised to keep track of the progress of Hurricane Beryl, which was due to pass north of the island by Monday.
Beryl, the second named storm of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, formed over the central Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, and by 8 p.m. tonight was located at 10.6N and 43.8W, or about 925 miles (1490 km) to the east south east of the Lesser Antilles.
On its current track, forecasters say the system poses no direct threat to any of the islands.
However, they cautioned that hurricane watches may still be needed for some of the islands by tonight, including Dominica, which is currently on hurricane watch, and which was flattened by Hurricane Maria last year.
“At present all indications are that Beryl, as a very small storm, and as she moves toward the Eastern Caribbean, will encounter very unfavourable conditions, that could cause the system to weaken to a weak tropical storm or a strong tropical wave,” the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) said in a weather update issued on Friday.
However, heavy rains and occasional gusty winds are in the forecast for Barbados for Sunday night into Monday, with rainfall accumulations of 25 to 50 mm (one to two inches) expected as the system passes to the north of the island.
“Marine conditions are also expected to deteriorate by Sunday afternoon with sea swells expected to range between 3.0 and 4.0 metres (ten-13 feet).
“As a consequence a high surf advisory and small craft warning will go into effect from 6 p.m. Saturday 7th July until 6 a.m. Monday,” the local met office said.
It also warned that large waves and dangerous rip currents could be expected, which will create unsafe conditions for small craft operators.
“Sea bathers and other users of the sea are also advised to stay out of the water during that time [as] this activity may become even more adverse at times of high tide,” it added.
Heavy rains, thundershowers and accompanied by gusty winds are also in store for the Leeward Islands, which were severely battered last year by hurricanes Irma and Maria, resulting in over 30 deaths and widespread devastation.
However, on Friday forecasters said “the system is also moving very fast, all encouraging signs that the effects will not be prolonged”, even as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) warned that even though Beryl poses no immediate threat to any of the CDEMA participating states, the region should take no chances.
Already, the Regional Coordination Plan (RCP) has been activated as of 8:40 p.m. on Friday, with the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU) said to be undertaking the preparatory actions in accordance with the standing operating procedures of the RCP.
CDEMA has also notified its participating states of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands, as well as the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) partners of the potential threat from Beryl and has scheduled a briefing for the RRM partners and participating states for 11 a.m. tomorrow.
“The CDEMA CU urges all participating states and members of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) to continue to monitor the progress of this system. The CDEMA CU will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Beryl and provide updates as necessary,” it added while urging residents to monitor radio or television and other official sources of information for progress reports, update their personal family preparedness plan, know their emergency shelters and have evacuation routes planned to the emergency shelters near them.