Tropical Storm Bret continues to spin toward the Caribbean Sea, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday afternoon. As Bret closes in on the Caribbean, a tropical storm watch was hoisted for Barbados.
Additional watches are likely for other islands within the Lesser Antilles later tonight.
Although it had been forecast to strengthen into the season’s first hurricane, the system is now expected to remain below hurricane strength and then dissipate over the Caribbean over the next few days, the center said.
Bret is forecast to move across the Lesser Antilles as a tropical storm on Thursday, bringing a risk of flooding from heavy rainfall, strong winds, dangerous storm surge and waves. The gusty winds and heavy rain could bring downed tree branches, minor roof damage and isolated flooding in low-lying areas of the eastern Caribbean, according to AccuWeather.
Through Saturday morning, storm total rainfall amounts of 4 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches are possible across portions of the Lesser Antilles from Guadeloupe southward to St. Lucia, the hurricane center said. The heavy rain could lead to flash flooding.
Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center advised residents in the Lesser Antilles to monitor the progress of the tropical storm. Those in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands should also closely monitor updates to the forecast for Bret and have their hurricane plan in place.
Spaghetti models, forecast path for Tropical Storm Bret
Where is Tropical Storm Bret going and how strong is it?
At 5 p.m., the center of Tropical Storm Bret was located 835 miles east of the Windward Islands. Bret is moving toward the west at 18 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue for the next several days.
Maximum sustained winds were now at 45 mph, with higher gusts. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center.
AccuWeather meteorologists urged residents in Bret’s path to look at the “entire window of movement” and not just the center, especially since it is possible the storm could take not only a westerly path but a “last-minute jog to the north” as it nears the Caribbean, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
There continues to be a “significant spread in the three- to five-day track” for Bret, probably due in large part to differences in the storm’s predicted intensity, according to Hurricane Center forecasters.
Tropical Storm Bret is unusual for June
Tropical Storm Bret was one of two systems forecasters were monitoring Monday. The appearance of the two systems in June is unusual.
Low wind shear, which tears budding tropical systems apart, and abnormally warm water temperatures are making conditions favorable for future development.
Bret is the farthest east a tropical storm has formed in the tropical Atlantic – south of 23.5 North – this early in the calendar year on record, according to Colorado State University hurricane meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.
It’s unusual for a tropical system to form in the eastern part of the tropical Atlantic from a tropical wave that emerged off Africa. Typically, that happens in August and September, according to AccuWeather.
Is a rare June hurricane possible?Forecasters are keeping their eyes on latest storm
Tropical depression could follow Tropical Storm Bret
As Tropical Storm Bret churns through the Atlantic on a path toward the Caribbean Tuesday, another tropical wave behind it – Invest 93L – could become a tropical depression in the next couple of days.
Showers and thunderstorms are gradually showing signs of organization in association with a tropical wave located several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Environmental conditions appear conducive for further development of Invest 93L, and a tropical depression will likely form during the next couple of days while the system moves west at 10 to 15 mph across the eastern and central tropical Atlantic.
It’s too early to determine if there will be any impact on the U.S. from Invest 93L.
Cheryl McCloud reports for Treasure Coast Newspapers and Doyle Rice reports for USA TODAY.
Contributing:Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY