TOBAGO was on Thursday evening placed under tropical storm watch due to the approach of Tropical Storm Gonzalo, said the TT Met Office in a statement issued at 5.30 pm.
"This means that tropical storm conditions - sustained winds of at least 63 km/h - are possible over Tobago in 48 hours," the TT Met Office said.
"While Gonzalo has maintained tropical storm intensity, there remains much uncertainty with respect to any intensification to hurricane status before reaching the Windwards."
At 5 pm on Thursday, Gonzalo was 1,305 km east of the Southern Windwards.
"Gonzalo continues to move westward near 20 km/h but a west-north-westward motion is expected through the weekend.
"On the current forecast track, the centre of Gonzalo will approach the southern Windwards on Friday night and move across the Windward Islands on Saturday."
Gonzalo is a very small tropical storm with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to only 35km from the centre.
"Latest analyses suggest that Trinidad will not be directly impacted by Gonzalo. However heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected as the system passes north of the island."
The TT Met Office is closely monitoring this system and the next update will be at midnight Thursday or earlier if the situation warrants.
"As always, pay close attention to information being issued by the TTMS (TT Meteorological Services) by visiting www.metoffice.gov.tt, downloading our app (search TT Met Office) and following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram," it advised.
Earlier on Thursday the TT Met Office had reckoned Gonzalo could strengthen into a hurricane that day but later the TT Met Office reported that the otherwise much-hated Sahara dust in the atmosphere had caused Gonzalo to weaken. Sahara dust around the system was inhibiting further development and intensification, even as atmospheric conditions were also not very conducive for strengthening Gonzalo. The TT Met Office in a separate statement of forecast predicted some showers on Thursday-Friday in a few areas just after midnight.
On Friday, it will be partly cloudy to cloudy periods with showers in varying localities. Showers will become heavy and thundery in a few areas.
Gusty winds and street/flash flooding may accompany heavy showers and thunderstorms.
This story was originally published with the title "Sahara dust thwarts Gonzalo" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.
THE much-hated Sahara dust is causing Tropical Storm Gonzalo to weaken.
Earlier today the Met Office said Gonzalo was threatening to become a hurricane. However, in media release at 2.30 on Thursday, the Met Office said Sahara dust around the system is inhibiting further development and intensification. Additionally, atmospheric conditions are also not very conducive for strengthening Gonzalo with the intensity of the winds decreasing.
On the latest forecast track, the centre of Gonzalo will approach the southern Windwards by Friday night and move across the islands Saturday evening. Gonzalo remains a very small Tropical Storm and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to only 35 km from the centre. Earlier today the winds extended outward up to 55 km from the centre.
The Met Office says it will continue to monitor the situation and will update the country at 6 pm if not sooner and is encouraging the public to visit its social media pages and website for updates and to download the TTMetOffice app.
This story was originally published with the title "Gonzalo expected to strengthen to hurricane today" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.
TROPICAL STORM Gonzalo is expected to become a hurricane today.
The Met Office, in a media release posted on it's website, said that on Gonzalo's current trajectory, it is expected to approach the Windward Islands late Friday into Saturday and is expected to strengthen to a hurricane by Thursday.
Gonzalo is currently listed as a small tropical cyclone, as winds extend outward up to 55 km from the centre. At the time of the media release, Gonzalo was 1565 kilometres east of the Southern Windward Islands with winds of 19 kilometres per hour.
The Met Office is continuing to monitor Gonzalo and is encouraging the public to visit its social media pages and website for updates and to download the TTMetOffice app.