KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — The strong tropical wave that triggered floods and landslides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) since Sunday developed into Tropical Storm Emily early Monday night just west of Dominica, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami announced Monday night.
In the first advisory on the storm, issued 7:30 Monday night, the NHC estimated the storm’s centre to be located 15.2 degrees north, 62.5 degrees west – about 80 kilometres west-southwest of Dominica.
The advisory said a tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica, Guadeloupe, Desirade, Les Saintes and Marie Galante, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra and the Dominican Republic.
The Barbados meteorological office placed St Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, and Antigua under tropical storm watch, suggesting that storm conditions could affect those islands over the next 48 hours, according to the advisory.
The weather system, which began affecting SVG as a tropical wave on Sunday, caused foods, landslides and blocked roads, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in Kingstown reported Monday night.
The NBC also said the E.T. Joshua airport was closed for about 90 minutes on Monday because the southern end of the runway was flooded.
The bad weather disrupted the nation’s Emancipation Day celebrations, with many events cancelled or postponed.
The Roads, Building and General Services Authority and the police have been clearing landslides and Deputy Director of the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) Michelle Forbes explained that a broad area of low pressure has been moving across the Atlantic Ocean.
“… this part has broken off and has been dumping quite a bit of rain on St. Vincent and the Grenadines…” Forbes told the NBC, adding that her office was expending more landslides.
“We want to ask persons to be extremely vigilant and be cautious,” Forbes said.
The NHC advisory said that at 7.30 p.m. Eastern Caribbean Time Monday, the centre of Tropical Storm Emily was located near latitude 15.2 north, longitude 62.0 west and was moving toward the west near 17 mph (28 km/h).
“A turn toward the west-northwest and a slight decrease in forward speed are expected over the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the centre of Emily will move across the northeastern Caribbean Sea tonight and approach the island of Hispaniola Tuesday night and Wednesday,” the advisory said.
“Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours,” the release continued.
Meteorologist Al Archer said on NBC around 7:30 p.m. Monday that SVG could expect “squally weather” into Thursday.
“I think here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines we will be on the southern edge of this increased thunderstorm cluster now over the course of the night time hours. Some heavy downpours are likely …” he said.
“At least for tonight (Monday night) and continuing into tomorrow night, squally weather. Thursday’s weather would probably be the first respectable day weather-wise up ahead,” he added.
The weatherman said there was an 80 per cent chance of squalls through Wednesday, some heavy and coming in from the east.
“[It is a] good idea for all our marine operators to stay in port until this low pressure system leaves us — which would probably be late Wednesday, into Thursday,” Archer further said, adding that seas could be elevated as much as three meters (9.8 feet) into Wednesday.