After intensifying into a hurricane, Tomas was nearing the northern Windward Islands on Saturday, taking aim at St. Lucia and St. Vincent, forecasters said.
Earlier, as a tropical storm, Tomas damaged homes and downed power lines on Barbados, according to the Miami, Florida-based National Hurricane Center.
As of 11 a.m., Tomas was located about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south-southeast of St. Lucia and about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of St. Vincent, the Hurricane Center said. Its maximum sustained winds were at 75 mph (120 kph), making Tomas a Category 1 hurricane, although it is expected to further intensify.
The storm was moving west-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph), the Hurricane Center said. “The center of Tomas will pass near St. Lucia and St. Vincent this afternoon and enter the eastern Caribbean Sea by tonight,” forecasters said.
A hurricane warning was in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Martinique, forecasters said. A tropical storm warning was in effect for Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Dominica.
A wind gust of 53 mph (85 kph) was reported on St. Lucia as Tomas approached, forecasters said. Earlier Saturday, a wind gust of 63 mph (100 kph) was reported on Barbados, and the Barbados Meteorological Service reported damage to homes and downed power lines on the island.
Tropical storm conditions were occurring on St. Lucia, and were expected to spread across the warning areas Saturday, with hurricane conditions expected within the hurricane warning area by early Saturday afternoon. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 25 miles from the storm’s center, with tropical storm-force winds extending outward 175 miles (280 kilometers.
Tomas is forecast to dump 4 to 6 inches of rain across portions of the Windward and southern Leeward Islands, with up to 8 inches possible in isolated areas. In addition, a storm surge is expected to raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in some areas, accompanied by “large and potentially destructive” waves.
Well north of Tomas, Hurricane Shary posed no threat to land as it raced across the Atlantic, and was expected to weaken and transition to a post-tropical storm by Saturday night, forecasters said. As of 11 a.m. Saturday, Shary was located about 580 miles (935 kilometers) east-northeast of Bermuda and about 755 miles (1,220 kilometers) south of Cape Race, Newfoundland. It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) and was moving northeast at 40 mph (65 kph).