High winds from Philippe possible in eastern PR early this morning
By The Star Staff
A tropical storm warning was issued for Barbuda on Monday as Tropical Storm Philippe crawled west-northwest with the possibility of tropical storm conditions clipping Puerto Rico’s eastern flank early this morning.
The center of Philippe had become exposed Monday morning with convection and heavy rainfall displaced to the south and southeast of the center as high northwesterly vertical wind shear persisted.
The initial intensity was holding steady at 45 knots, according to Monday morning’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) advisory, consistent with data from Air Force Reserve reconnaissance showing a large area of 40-45-knot surface winds.
Heavy rains were expected to continue Monday, with a risk of flooding in portions of the Leeward Islands.
The center of Philippe was forecast to pass near, or just northeast of, the northern Leeward Islands through Monday night, producing heavy rain across some parts, the NHC said. The storm was poised to cause flooding and dump several inches of rain across Antigua and Barbuda through today, forecasters said.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Barbuda, and a tropical storm watch was in effect for Antigua. Up to 6 inches of rain was predicted, forecasters said, warning that the rain could cause scattered flash floods.
Other parts of the Leeward Islands could also see up to 4 inches of rain, they said.
“Notably, a very strong rain band on the southern side of Philippe will be very close to moving over the northern Leeward Islands, and it could turn out that rainfall and flooding would be the main hazard of the storm,” forecasters said.
While the storm’s strength was not expected to change over the next day or so, it could begin to intensify more significantly by the middle of the week.
The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1, and runs through Nov. 30.