Tropical storm Gaston strengthens, expected to become an Atlantic hurricane

By Tribune 242

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TRIBUNE 242 –  Tropical storm Gaston is getting stronger as it moves over the far eastern Atlantic and is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday, according to US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) forecasters.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds had increased early on Tuesday to near 50mph after strengthening late on Monday night. The NHC says additional strengthening is forecast.

Gaston, the seventh named storm of the 2016 Atlantic season, is centred about 545 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and is moving west-northwest near 20mph.

The NHC is also watching closely a large area of disorganised showers and thunderstorms a few hundred miles east of the Leeward Islands associated with a tropical wave which could develop in the next couple of days and affect parts of the Bahamas.

The NHC reported on Tuesday morning that environmental conditions” are somewhat conducive for development of this system during the next couple of days while it moves west-northwestward at 15 to 20mph near the northern Leeward Island and the Greater Antilles”.

The NHC said conditions could become more conducive later this week while the system moves near Hispaniola and then the southeastern and central Bahamas. A US Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate this disturbance on Tuesday morning.

Islands of the northeastern Caribbean Sea to the Bahamas are advised to monitor the progress of this system, the NHC said. Gusty winds, heavy rains, and possible flash floods and mud slides could occur over these areas regardless of tropical cyclone formation.

The NHC estimates the chance of cyclone formation as “medium”, 50 per cent over the next 48 hours and 60 per cent over the next five days.

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