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National Hurricane Center In Miami Issues ‘First Time’ Ever Storm Warning Outside of 48 Hours For The Caribbean

MIAMI — A tropical storm warning has been issued for a trio of islands in the Caribbean Sea as a “disturbance” continues to develop off the northeast coast of South America, the National Hurricane Center announced Sunday afternoon.

The system is expected to intensify into a tropical storm today as it moves westward across the Windward Islands, situated at the eastern edge of the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, a broad area of low pressure is still brewing off the Yucatan Peninsula near the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters give that system a 90 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm or depression over the next five days as it heads into the Gulf by Monday or Tuesday.

“While there is still a great deal of uncertainty until a center of circulation develops, movement toward the central Gulf Coast is becoming more likely,” Alek Krautmann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, wrote Sunday in a 2 p.m. briefing.

“Should a northward track continue, potential local impacts include coastal flooding and heavy rain in the Tuesday to Thursday timeframe.”

As for the “disturbance” near the Caribbean, forecasters say it’s too early to tell where the system might head.

Centered about 815 miles southeast of the Windward Islands, the disturbance is heading west near 23 mph and is forecast to strengthen over the next 48 hours.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

If it forms, the tropical storm could arrive on those islands overnight tonight and Tuesday morning, bringing the possibility of as much as four inches of rain.

It’s the first time the National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for a “potential tropical cyclone,” under the conditions that the system poses the threat of bringing to land areas tropical storm or hurricane conditions within 48 hours.

The NHC now has the option to issue advisories and graphics for these potential storms and to coordinate with impacted governments as they form for developed tropical storms and hurricanes.

With regards to these early warnings, the general public “should be aware that forecast uncertainty for disturbances is generally larger than for tropical cyclones, especially beyond 48-72 hours,” senior hurricane specialist Michael Brennan wrote in a 4 p.m. forecast discussion.


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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