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Weather system across southwestern Atlantic Basin could spawn Tropical Depression

A system caused by the interaction of a tropical wave with a mid to upper level low will spread moderate to heavy rainfall from the Leeward Islands to Puerto Rico and part of Hispaniola this weekend.

Conditions in the BVI are expected to intensify tonight and into the weekend, especially on Saturday and the BVI DDM has issued a small craft and swimmers warning. The heavy rainfall could trigger the issuance of flash flood watches or warning.

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Winds from this system are expected to come from the East North East at 14 to 20 knots with higher gusts during periods of heavier showers. Currently sea conditions are rough with swells 1.8 to 2.8m or 6 to 9ft. As a result a Small Craft Warning remains in place and small craft operators are advised to stay in port. Sea conditions are hazardous and persons should refrain from being in or near the water. Strict adherence to lifeguards warning is required at beaches where lifeguards operate or where warning flags are posted.
All efforts should be made to secure property in the event of significant flooding or gusty winds. The Public Works Department is especially appealing to construction managers to ensure that all construction sites and loose materials are properly secured. Additionally, loose materials should not be placed in or near waterways as they could cause blockage or diversion to areas at risk.

Residents should check their properties to ensure that areas vulnerable to gusty winds and flooding are protected and that cistern overflows are protected. Water should be channeled to appropriate drains to avoid destabilisation of hillsides and retaining structures. All drains around property should be checked and cleared. Any areas of public concerns should be reported immediately to the relevant authorities.

According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert, Dan Kottlowski, while the system has a low chance of development, it “will have more time to organize north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola next week. Waters are marginally warm and disruptive winds will weaken in that area. As a result, there is a chance of it spawning a tropical depression or storm.”

The large area of disturbed weather has been affecting many Caribbean islands over the past days. In Dominica, temporary bypasses that were installed after the impact of Tropical Storm Erika have been affected due to heavy rainfall which is expected to further increase today.

Overnight, Barbados, Trinidad, St Vincent and the Grenadines were all affected by heavy rains which resulted in flooding in low lying areas. The high winds which accompanied the weather system caused roof damage to one critical facility in St Vincent and the Grenadines. In Grenada one death was reported after a wall collapsed on a passing vehicle.

Heavy rains caused widespread flooding in Saint Lucia which resulted in landslides and blocked roads. Low lying communities along the northern and eastern portions of the island were hardest hit. Some areas are also without electricity.

The system will drift through waters between Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Bermuda during the second week of November and may pass near Bermuda around Wednesday, November 11, with gusty showers and thunderstorms.

Areas from the Bahamas to Bermuda should closely monitor the path and strength of the system. Direct impact on the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States seems unlikely, unless steering winds direct the system farther to the west.

Depending on the strength of the system, surf and seas could be raised from Puerto Rico to Bermuda and the southern Atlantic coast of the U.S. Building seas and surf would become a concern for bathers, boaters and cruise interests.

The Atlantic hurricane season does not officially end until November 30, but, according to the Accuweather report, strengthening westerly winds and cooling waters bring the demise of tropical systems as the month progresses and following this marginal threat into next week, the basin may be finished churning up tropical storms and hurricanes, aside from perhaps a poorly organized drenching system in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico.

Prior to this weekend, there have been 10 tropical storms, three hurricanes and two major hurricanes during the 2015 season. All numbers were below the average of 12 tropical storms, six hurricane and three major hurricanes.

Joaquin, which blasted the Bahamas and sent tropical moisture into the Southeastern states, stopped just short of being a Category 5 hurricane. Tropical storms Ana and Bill were the only two systems to make landfall in the U.S.