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Gonzalo is expected to pass over the British Virgin Islands tonight

The tropical storm warning and hurricane watch issued for the British Virgin Islands remain in effect.  Gonzalo is expected to pass over the British Virgin Islands tonight.  Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area tonight and early Tuesday with tropical storm conditions expected by this evening.  Gonzalo is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches across the Leeward Islands, British and U.S. Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico, with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches possible.

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 24 to 36 hours.

The combination of a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch means that forecasters expect tropical storm force conditions to affect the islands. However, because of development of the system, it could become a hurricane before it gets to our area and therefore, a watch is issued as precautionary measure to ensure that persons are preparing for possible impact at the hurricane force level.

At 5:00 a.m., the centre of Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located near Latitude 16.8 North and Longitude 60.9 West.

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 centre of Gonzalo will move across the Leeward Islands today and near or over the British Virgin Islands tonight.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mph with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the centre.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb.

Satellite and radar imagery from Guadeloupe indicate that Gonzalo is strengthening and becoming better organised.  Some additional strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours.

Forecasters predict that Gonzalo to become a hurricane by Tuesday morning. However, there is a decent chance that Gonzalo could become a hurricane by this evening prior to reaching the British Virgin Islands.

The next aircraft reconnaissance flight is scheduled in a few hours, and the data will show whether or not Gonzalo has strengthened. Continued strengthening is expected after Gonzalo exits the Caribbean region. Beyond five days, strong wind shear should cause weakening.

Hazards affecting land

Wind: Tropical storm conditions will spread over portions of the warning area in the Leeward Islands today.  Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area tonight and early Tuesday with tropical storm conditions expected by this evening.

Rainfall: Gonzalo is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches across the Leeward Islands, British and U.S. Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico, with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches possible.

Surf…swells generated by Gonzalo will affect the islands from Dominica northward today.  Swells will reach the U.S. and British Virgin Islands by this afternoon. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Residents are urged complete preparations prior the arrival of Tropical Storm Gonzalo.