Tropical Storm Gonzalo has been struggling to gain strength; while it was originally thought it’d become a hurricane, today it’s struggling to remain a tropical storm. Due to that, the government of Barbados has canceled the Hurricane Watch for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. However, in its place, a Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect. A Tropical Storm Watch is also in effect for Tobago and Grenada and its dependencies.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 24 to 36 hours. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 24 to 36 hours.
Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is investigating the system now. Based on that aircraft data, the center of Tropical Storm Gonzalo was near latitude 9.9 North, longitude 54.8 West. Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 18 mph. Preliminary aircraft data shows top sustained winds at 45 mph for now.
According to the National Hurricane Center, there is considerable uncertainty in the intensity forecast, but some strengthening is possible during the next day or so before Gonzalo reaches the southern Windward Islands. Weakening is expected after Gonzalo moves into the Caribbean Sea, and the cyclone is expected to dissipate by the middle of next week.
Gonzalo is a small tropical cyclone. Data from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center. The most recent minimum central pressure reported by the Hurricane Hunter plane was 1008 mb or 29.76 inches.
As Gonzalo moves through Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, gusty winds and heavy rain is likely. Gonzalo is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2-5″, with isolated maximum amounts of 8″ in Barbados and the Windward Islands through Sunday night. Gonzalo is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2-4″ in Trinidad and Tobago as well as 1-2″ over northeastern Venezuela. Rainfall in Barbados and the Windward Islands could lead to life-threatening flash floods.