On the forecast track the Centre of Gonzalo will continue to move through the northern Leeward Islands tonight and be near or east of the British Virgin Islands tonight and early Tuesday.
Reports from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Gonzalo could become a major hurricane by Wednesday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles. The minimum central pressure recently measured by the aircraft was 984 mb.
At 5:00 pm the centre of Hurricane Gonzalo was located by an air force reserve reconnaissance aircraft and Guadeloupe radar near latitude 17.9 north longitude 62.9 west. Gonzalo is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 mph. This general motion is expected to continue through Tuesday.
Hazards affecting land
Wind: Hurricane conditions are expected in the British Virgin Islands tonight and early Tuesday. Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area tonight and early Tuesday with tropical storm conditions expected by this evening. Tropical storm conditions will continue to spread over portions of the warning area in the Leeward Islands today.
Rainfall: Gonzalo is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches across the Leeward Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches possible.
Surf: Swells generated by Gonzalo are affecting the Leeward Islands from Dominica northward. Swells will reach the British Virgin Islands this afternoon and evening. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Residents are urged to complete preparations prior the arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo.