Tropical Storm Bret strikes eastern Caribbean islands, bringing heavy rain and winds

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Tropical Storm Bret continued to strike eastern Caribbean islands early Friday, pelting the region with stiff winds and heavy rain that could cause flooding and dangerous surf.

Bret, earlier packing near-hurricane-force sustained winds of 70 mph, weakened slightly to 60 mph with even higher gusts and was moving west at 17 mph, the National Hurricane Center said Friday morning.


Moving west across parts of the eastern Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles island group, which includes Dominica, St. Lucia and Barbados, and the French overseas region of Martinique, the center of the storm was tracking 50 miles west of St. Vincent as of 2 a.m. ET Friday, the hurricane center said.

Tropical storm conditions – winds of at least 39 mph – extended outward up to 115 miles (185 kilometers) from the center of the storm, the hurricane center said.

“Grantly Adams International Airport on Barbados recently reported a sustained wind of 44 mph (70 km/h) and a gust to 56 mph (91 km/h) in thunderstorm activity well to the east of Bret’s center. Tropical storm conditions are also still being reported on St. Lucia and Martinique,” warned the NHC.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect late Thursday for Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Through Saturday, the storm could bring 3 to 6 inches of rain to parts of the eastern Caribbean stretching from Guadeloupe to Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the hurricane center said. Some areas could see as many as 10 inches of rain.

Downpours could trigger flash flooding, particularly in high-terrain areas and potentially in urban areas.

Bret also is likely to whip up dangerous coastal swells that may create life-threatening surf and rip currents in parts of the islands.

After passing the Lesser Antilles, Bret is expected to weaken and press west into the eastern and central Caribbean Sea, the hurricane center said.

“Gradual weakening is anticipated over the next couple of days, and the system is likely to dissipate over the central Caribbean Sea Saturday night or Sunday,” the hurricane center said. “Tropical storm conditions are expected within the tropical storm warning areas” into early Friday.

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season

Bret is the second named storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1 and will end November 30.

This year’s season is expected to bring a near-average number of storms: 12 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and up to four major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said.

An average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, according to the administration.

Tropical Storm Arlene became the first named storm of the season when it formed in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month.

As Bret churned near the Caribbean, Tropical Storm Cindy formed over the central Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said on Thursday. No coastal watches or warnings were in effect late Thursday, and Cindy is forecast to track to the northwest, remaining at tropical storm strength before dissipating next week.

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