Tropical storm MATTHEW close to Barbados & St Lucia

Wednesday 28th September 2016

Disturbance thirty seven is an open wave now, still hovering around the Gulf coast of Mexico where it is causing some squalls and lumpy coastal waters. This will slowly move inland over Mexico tonight.

Disturbance thirty six has just been upgraded to tropical storm MATTHEW, 25 miles equidistant from Barbados and St Lucia, moving west at 18 knots and intensifying. This is currently producing heavy showers, gusty winds and thunderstorms across the Windward Islands chain from Grenada to Martinique. There is less chatter today of a route into the Gulf of Mexico but until this actually turns, that cannot be totally discounted, in my view. Having said that, smarter observers than I are expecting this to track near the Netherlands Antilles on Thursday as a tropical storm then turning sharp right across Hispaniola, developing into a hurricane and eventually passing to the east of Florida. I would still maintain that where or when this turns is vitally important and until we have a clearer idea, I wouldn't write off a hurricane entering the Gulf of Mexico. The predicted maximum intensity has been upgraded slightly to 29 out of a possible 50 points (17 size / 12 intensity) which is a bruiser.

Disturbance thirty eight is westbound out of Africa and just passing the Cape Verde Islands. The structure of this system is listing slightly to the north and this may be Atlantic-bound.

Stand by for tropical storm conditions in Barbados and St Lucia.