VITEMA Urges the Public to Get Ready, Stay Informed
Tropical Storm Gonzalo is forecast to pass over or near the US Virgin Islands with winds of up to 60 miles per hour, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center. VITEMA is urging the public to take steps now to get ready for storm impact.
A Tropical Storm Warning, Hurricane Watch, and Flash Flood Watch continue for the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
“According to the latest forecasts, Tropical Storm Gonzalo continues to strengthen and is forecasted to pass over the Virgin Islands tonight, which means we will experience the full brunt of the tropical storm force winds and heavy rainfall associated with this system,” said VITEMA Acting Director Austin Callwood. “It’s important that the public immediately begin to take steps to prepare their families and properties by stocking up on all of the basic necessities. Give special consideration to children, the elderly and pets in the home. Also, prepare your property by removing debris from around the home that can become projectiles. At this point, boaters should are also advised to remain in port and should be working to secure their vessels.”
“We encourage to monitor VI Alert or to stay tuned to local radio, or a NOAA weather radio for updated storm information,” Callwood said.
At 5 a.m. the center of Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located near Latitude 16.8 degrees north, Longitude 60.9 degrees west, about 290 miles east southeast of St. Thomas. Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 10 miles per hour. A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast today followed by a turn toward the northwest by tonight.
On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo will move near or over the Virgin Islands tonight with maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 miles per hour with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center. Some additional strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours and Gonzalo is forecast to become a hurricane tonight or Tuesday.
Gonzalo is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches across the US Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches possible. Swells generated by Gonzalo will reach the Virgin Islands by this afternoon. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Deteriorating marine conditions are expected across local waters Monday night with seas up to 18 feet. Large-breaking waves will cause dangerous conditions throughout the surf zone and numerous rip currents. Wave action surging upon the coastline and higher than normal waters levels may pose a threat to life and property and produce minor beach erosion. Isolated tornadoes and waterspout will be possible especially in squally weather and rain bands mainly northeast of Gonzalo.
A Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch is also in effect for coastal waters surrounding the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.