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Grenadians were yesterday warned to be prepared for the worst-case scenario with the passage of Tropical Storm Gonzalo, which is expected to shower the island with almost eight inches of rain from late tonight into Saturday.

“The professionals are saying there is a lot of uncertainty in that forecast so we expect things to change; it's a dynamic system, like all other weather systems we expect changes as time processes so what we are saying here is not set in stone, so please let us be prepared for the worst-case scenario, the rainfall is the main factor, up to eight inches, that is a lot of rainfall,” said Hubert Whyte, manager of the Metrological Office at the Maurice Bishop International Airport.

Whyte said beside the rains that will affect the island as well as the Grenadines, the winds are expected to be around 45 miles per hour (mph) with higher gusts.

“We are calling on interest in the Windward Islands to exercise caution, what we expect most from this tropical storm is a lot of rainfall. It is expected to produce rainfall of between two and five inches in some areas. However, interest in the southern Caribbean like Grenada and Tobago may get up to eight inches,” he said, adding that the island is under a tropical storm warning.

Minister with responsibility for the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA), Winston Garraway, said that because the strength of the wind is not within hurricane conditions there are no plans to shut down the island before the arrival of the storm.

“Businesses will operate as normal,” said Garraway, urging citizens to be extremely cautious about the flooding because of the high volume of rain expected.

No decision has yet been taken regarding the activation of shelters and NaDMA Coordinator Sylvan McIntyre said, “it is very uncertain but what we are assured of is that there is a system approaching Grenada and we should work for the best result but prepare for the worst”.

In its latest bulletin at 5:00 pm, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the storm was 390 miles east of the southern Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

Trinidad and Tobago Government has issued a tropical storm warning for Tobago and Grenada while St Lucia has cancelled the warning.

However, a tropical storm warning remains in effect for Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines, meaning that storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within 24 hours.

The NHC said that interests elsewhere in the Windward Islands should monitor the progress of this system, which is moving toward the west near 18 mph.

“A general westward to west-northwestward motion is expected for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, Gonzalo will move across the southern Windward Islands Saturday afternoon or evening and over the eastern Caribbean Sea on Sunday.

“Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Gonzalo's maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph with higher gusts. Some slight strengthening is possible before Gonzalo reaches the southern Windward Islands. Weakening is expected after Gonzalo moves over the eastern Caribbean Sea and the system is forecast to dissipate early next week,” the NHC said.

Source: ja observer


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