A hurricane watch has been issued for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
At 8 a.m. Tropical Storm Gonzalo was centered near 9.8 North, 47.9 West or about 910 miles (1470 km) east of the Southern Windward Islands.
Gonzalo is moving towards the west near 12 mph (19 km/h) with maximum sustained winds now near 65 mph (100 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 997 mb (29.44 inches).
An increase in forward speed maintaining a generally westward motion can be expected for the next few days and Gonzalo is expected to become hurricane later today (Thursday).
Shower and thunderstorm activity along with gusty winds ahead of Gonzalo are projected to begin affecting the Lesser Antilles, including SVG, from today into Friday.
The current forecast is for the center of Gonzalo to move across the southern Windward Islands as a hurricane throughout Saturday.
Tropical storm force winds between 40 – 70mph (64-112 km/h) extend 35 miles from the centre and are anticipated by noon Saturday.
Hurricane force winds of approximately 62 to 87 mph (100 to 140 km/h) with higher gusts are likely to spread across SVG by late Saturday.
In addition, pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and thunderstorms are expected.
Rainfall accumulations of at least 3 – 4 inches (75 – 100 millimeters) are possible with isolated higher amounts.
As a result, flash-flooding is likely in low-lying areas.
Large easterly swells of 3 to 4 meters (10 – 13 feet) are also forecast to accompany the system.
Low-lying coastlines around the islands will be particularly vulnerable at times of high tide. These will create unsafe conditions for small-craft operators and fishermen.
All residents are urged to make all the necessary preparations for the approach of “Gonzalo”.
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Meteorological Services says it will continue to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Gonzalo and provide updates as necessary.