Tropical Storm Gonzalo is forecast to become the Atlantic’s first hurricane for 2020 as it nears the Windward Islands, including Trinidad and Tobago.
As of yesterday, the tropical storm had sustained winds of 85 KM/H and gusts to 100 KM/H and was moving westward at 22 KM/H. It will generally accelerate westward over the next few days and is forecast to move north of Tobago on Saturday, weakening from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm. However, it will remain a strong tropical storm, based on yesterday’s intensity forecast, with a negligible difference in impacts.
The system remains a small tropical cyclone, with tropical storm winds extending outward, up to 55 kilometres from the center, approximately the distance from Sangre Grande to Chaguaramas. Because of the small size, Gonzalo is subject to rapid intensity changes as it battles dry air and increasing wind shear on its way towards T&T.
Based on the current track, much of the strongest winds are forecast to remain north of Tobago. For Trinidad and Tobago, heavy rainfall is in the forecast for Saturday, with gusty winds likely. Heavier showers and thunderstorms are forecast to favour Northern Trinidad as well as Tobago.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), in an update yesterday, urged the public to prepare for Gonzalo’s passage. The Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government has also urged the public living in flood-prone areas not to wait until the last minute to contact municipal corporations to access sandbags.
The T&T Meteorological Service will continue to monitor the system closely but no alerts, watches or warnings were in effect for T&T and the Southern Windwards from the National Hurricane Center yesterday.