Residents across Barbados are urged to complete their preparations for the approach of Tropical Storm Gonzalo over the next two days and brace for the possibility of a tropical storm watch being issued later tonight, Wednesday, July 22.
Earlier today, the Barbados Meteorological Services issued a weather statement for Tropical Storm Gonzalo which is located near 9.9 degrees north, 43.6 degrees west, or 1100 miles to the east of Barbados.
A general westward movement is expected at a faster speed over the next few days, with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour.
The system has become better defined over the last few hours, and satellite imagery indicates the hint of an eye developing. If this trend continues, the system could intensify and become a category one hurricane within the next 12 to 24 hours.
However, the MET office has cautioned that as the system tracks westward across the Central Atlantic, some additional strengthening is possible, and a tropical storm watch may be issued for Barbados some time on Wednesday night (July 22).
In light of this, Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, is urging residents to finalise preparations over the next few days ahead of the system.
Ms. Hinds reminded persons that despite the approach of the system, COVID-19 protocols were still in place, and therefore delays when conducting business at some establishments were possible.
“We must remember that we must observe the physical distancing protocols which may result in reduced numbers being allowed in some institutions at one time. In addition, persons conducting business will still be required to undergo temperature checks, sanitising of hands, and have their names registered at some establishments, all of which are likely to be time consuming,” the Director explained.
It is for these reasons that she is urging residents to monitor the system’s approach and ensure that they implement emergency plans for their families and businesses early.
Ms. Hinds also advised persons to monitor the local media for updates and download the Common Alerting Protocol app – Cap.Cap or CapCap – from the App Store for persons with iPhones or from the Google Play Store for those with Android devices.
Alternatively, persons may also receive email notifications by visiting the DEM’s website and registering for the alerts.
They may also visit the DEM’s social media sites – Instagram, Facebook and YouTube – for information on the system.