Caribbean Islands Brace For Tropical Storm Tammy That Could Become Hurricane

(CMC) – A hurricane warning remains in effect for several Caribbean islands as strengthening Tropical Storm Tammy— which is forecast to become a hurricane this weekend— inches closer to the Lesser Antilles.

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who cut short his visit to Canada to return home, said that all schools on the island will be closed on Friday, but that the private and public sector would remain open.

“We are taking nothing for granted,” he told a news conference, adding that the airport would remain open until further notice.

“We are all too familiar with the passage of tropical storms on us,” he said, with the authorities noting that more than 100 shelters have been opened to accommodate people.

Schools have been closed in some of the islands, and the Antigua-based inter-regional airline, LIAT, said that some of its scheduled flights on Friday will be affected.

The airline said it had also cancelled flights to Dominica, Barbados, and St Lucia and that passengers who have been affected will be allowed to re-book “with all change fees waived”.

“LIAT sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused due to the cancellation of these flight services,” the airline added.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Tammy, which is about 100 miles north east of Barbados, and 185 miles east south east of Martinique, will bring hurricane conditions to portions of the Leeward Islands on Saturday.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Guadeloupe, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St Kitts- Nevis, Anguilla, St Maarten, St Martin and St Barthelemy, while a tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica, Barbados, Martinique, Saba and St Eustatius

The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (mph) is moving towards the west-northwest near eight mph and the NHC said on this general motion the storm is expected to continue through this afternoon.

“A turn towards the northwest is anticipated by this evening, followed by a north-north westward and northward turn Saturday night through Sunday night. On the forecast track, the center of Tammy will move near or over portions of the Leeward Islands tonight and on Saturday, and then move north of the northern Leeward Islands on Sunday,” the NHC added.

It said gradual strengthening of the storm is forecast during the next few days, and Tammy is expected to be at or near hurricane intensity while it moves near or over portions of the Leeward Islands.

NHC added: “Tropical storm conditions are expected within the tropical storm warning area beginning later today and tonight. Hurricane conditions are possible in portions of the Leeward Islands on

Saturday. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the tropical storm watch area beginning later today.”

Tammy is expected to produce rainfall of between four to eight inches in the Leeward Islands, and storm surge could raise water levels by as much as one to three feet above normal tide levels near where the center of Tammy moves across the Leeward Islands.

“Swells generated by Tammy will continue to affect portions of the Lesser Antilles during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office,” the NHC warned.