Barbadians were this afternoon preparing for the impact of Tropical Storm Dorian, with local meteorological officials warning of a possible upgrade to hurricane strength during its passage over the country tonight.
As frantic residents rushed around to complete last-minute shopping before a revised national shutdown of 10 a.m. expired and hundreds of motorists struggled in congested traffic to beat the noon deadline to get off the roads, Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson was holding a press briefing at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), to update the country on the latest developments.
Attending that press briefing was meteorologist Wayne McGeary who cautioned that even though sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (mph) were recorded at 8 a.m., hurricane force winds of 75 mph were also evident within the system.
“The system is projected to pass about 20 miles to the south of Barbados. The storm force winds extend right now outwards to 45 miles. So if you do some mathematics, you would see that the entire island is potentially susceptible to the strongest winds within this system.
“Some satellite-derived winds earlier this morning found winds in excess of 75 miles per hour, which of course are hurricane strength winds. So although the sustained winds being the 60 miles per hour, we can get hurricane force gusts. So of course, we need to really take this system seriously…take all the necessary precautions and make sure life and property are well protected,” McGeary suggested.
He told reporters that because of the extended winds, the entire country would be under threat.
And at 2.p.m., the Met Office announced that the island was still under a storm warning which meant that tropical storm conditions were imminent within in the next 12 hours. The officials said that Dorian continued to track west-northwestward while slowly strengthening.
Cloudy skies and scattered showers associated with T. S Dorian have already started to affect the island, and the met officials said conditions are expected to further deteriorate in the afternoon, with pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and scattered thunderstorms.
Met officials are predicting rainfall accumulations of at least 4 to 6 inches (100 to 150 mm) with the possibility of higher isolated amounts.
As a result, some flash-flooding is likely in low-lying areas and residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.
Large easterly to south-easterly swells of 2.5 to 3.5m (8 to 12ft) are also forecast to accompany the system. The officials noted that low-lying coastlines around the island will be particularly vulnerable during high tide. Large waves and dangerous rip-tides can also be expected.
“These will create unsafe conditions for small-craft operators and fishermen. Sea-bathers and other users of the sea are also advised to stay out of the water.”
Thus, a high-surf advisory and small-craft warning went into effect from 12 noon today until 6:a.m. Tuesday, August 27, 2019.