Tropical Storm Bret has strengthened a bit on Thursday as it moves in on the Lesser Antilles. At 2 pm, Bret was located near 13.4 North, 58.9 West, about 45 miles east-northeast of Barbados. Maximum sustained winds were near 65 miles per hour, and Bret was moving west at 14 miles per hour.
Tropical storm warnings are up for Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. There’s also a hurricane watch for St. Lucia. These islands can expect very heavy rainfall and damaging winds as Bret moves through tonight and early on Friday.
Bret is expected to weaken in the eastern Caribbean as it feels the effects of strong wind shear and drier air. The National Hurricane Center forecasts Bret to dissipate on Sunday, well south of Hispaniola.
Elsewhere, the wave we’ve been watching in the central Atlantic is now Tropical Depression # 4 — to no one’s surprise. At midday on Thursday, TD # 4 was located near 11.3 North, 42.9 West, about 1270 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. TD # 4 had maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour, and it was moving west-northwest at 15 miles per hour.
TD # 4 is likely to become a tropical storm Thursday night. (The next name on the list is Cindy.) The system is forecast to strengthen and move west-northwest for the next four days before turning to the northwest, well to the east of the Bahamas and Florida. We’ll keep an eye on it.