Tropical Storm Kirk is approaching the Lesser Antilles, bringing a threat of flooding rain, mudslides and tropical storm-force winds to parts of the northern Windward and southern Leeward islands Thursday into Friday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is reporting.
According to the NHC, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique and Guadeloupe, while a tropical storm watch is in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Currently, the storm is 45 miles north-northwest of Barbados.
From the latest forecast, as of 11 a.m. EST, the center of Kirk will move across the Lesser Antilles within the tropical storm warning area by this evening. Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (while tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles). The NHC adds that gradual weakening is anticipated during the next couple of days, but Kirk is still forecast to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea as a tropical storm.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the warning area this afternoon, but tropical storm conditions are also possible within the watch area around the same time. Kirk is expected to produce total rainfall of four to six inches across the northern Windward and southern Leeward Islands with isolated maximum totals up to 10 inches across Martinique and Dominica. These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Across eastern Puerto Rico, Kirk is expected to bring two to four inches with isolated maximum totals of six inches by Friday and Saturday.
Weather.com adds that Kirk is expected to encounter a formidable wall of wind shear (the change in wind speed and/or direction with height) in the Caribbean Sea this weekend, which should eventually rip the tropical storm apart before it can threaten other areas of the Caribbean.