11 a.m. update: The National Hurricane Center has said its hurricane hunter aircraft is reporting that Tropical Storm Bertha is “slightly stronger but disorganised”.
A tropical storm warning remains in effect for St. Lucia. Tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 24 hours.
A tropical storm warning is also in effect for Dominica, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands.
A tropical storm watch is now in effect for the eastern Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Isla Saona.
The Meterological Service of Barbados has discontinued all warnings and watches for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
At 11 a.m., the centre of Tropical Storm Bertha was located near latitude 14.0 north, longitude 58.9 west. Bertha is moving toward the west-northwest near 21 mph or 33 km/h and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, Bertha is expected to pass north of Barbados during the next several hours and move through the central Lesser Antilles tonight and approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Saturday.
Reports from an Air Force reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 mph/85 km/h with higher gusts. Upper-level winds are currently not favourable for additional strengthening and little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles/185 km mainly to the northeast of the centre.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1008 mb/29.77 inches.
The local Met Office said residents of St. Lucia “should stay indoors unless absolutely necessary as moderate to heavy showers, thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected during the next 24 hours”.
“Residents in areas prone to flooding and landslides should exercise extreme caution and take all necessary precautions. Small craft should remain in port and secure all equipment,” the Met Office said.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the warning area this afternoon…making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Tropical storm conditions are expected in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Saturday.
RAINFALL: Bertha is expected to produce rainfall amounts of one to three inches with isolated amounts up to six inches across portions of the Leeward Islands…as well as the US and British virgin islands. Rainfall totals of three to six inches with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches are possible across Puerto Rico with the heaviest totals across the southern portion of the island.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said interests elsewhere across the northeastern Caribbean sea and Hispaniola should monitor the progress of this system.