Maria expected to strengthen
AT 8 P.M. THE CENTER of Tropical Storm Maria was located near 12.4°N, 53.0°W at or about 435 miles or 700km east of Barbados.
The system is moving westward near 19 mph (30 km/h), however a slower west north-westward movement is expected over the next few days.
On this present track, the centre is expected to pass approximately 120 miles to the north of Barbados around midday on Monday.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 50 mph (85km/h) with higher gusts and further strengthening is forecast. Minimum central pressure was 1002 mb or 29.5 9inches.
As the system passes north of the island, pockets of moderate to heavy showers, thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected to spread across Barbados from late Sunday into Monday. Rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches (75 to 125mm) are possible.
Due to the already saturated nature of the soil a Flood Warning may be required at short notice. Thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.
In addition, large easterly swells of at least 4 to 6m (13 to 20 ft) are also forecast to accompany the system.
Hence, a High-Surf Advisory and Small-Craft Warning remains in effect until 12:00 noon Tuesday, September 19. (PR)