Tropical Storm Gonzalo, southeast of Trinidad and Tobago (NASA)

A tropical storm watch remains in effect for Tobago on Friday afternoon, with tropical storm warnings in effect for Barbados, Grenada and its dependencies, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia.

Hurricane watches were discontinued for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as Gonzalo is no longer forecast to become a hurricane as it moves north of Tobago on Saturday.

At 2:00 PM, according to the National Hurricane Center, the center of Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft near latitude 9.9 North, longitude 54.8 West, approximately 715 kilometres east of the Southern Windwards.

Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 18 MPH (30 KM/H). A general westward to west-northwestward motion is expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo will approach the southern Windward Islands tonight and then move across the islands on Saturday and over the eastern Caribbean Sea on Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center reported that the Hurricane Hunter aircraft has not yet completed its survey of Gonzalo, maximum sustained winds are near 75 KM/H with higher gusts. There is considerable uncertainty in the intensity forecast, but some strengthening is possible during the next day or so before Gonzalo reaches the southern Windward Islands. Weakening is expected after Gonzalo moves into the Caribbean Sea, and the cyclone is expected to dissipate by the middle of next week.

Gonzalo is a small tropical cyclone, with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 55 kilometres from the center, approximately the distance from Sangre Grande to Chaguaramas in Trinidad.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service, in their yellow level tropical storm watch for Tobago at 11:13 AM, continue state that, “periods of heavy to intense showers and/or thunderstorms are likely. Heavy/intense downpours can result in street/flash flooding. Gusty winds in excess of 85 KM/H can be expected and the risk of landslides/landslips is very high in areas so prone. Sea conditions are also likely to become occasionally rough.”

They are advising Tobagonians to have systems in place to protect lives, livelihood, and property. Those residing in Tobago should prepare a survival kit, plan evacuation to a shelter if it becomes necessary and have emergency supplies of food and water on standby. In addition, residents of Tobago should secure loose outdoor objects.