Yesterday, Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) issued an advisory indicating that due to the passage of Tropical Storm Emily, services throughout its network have been severely disrupted.
All flights to/from the US Virgin Islands, Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico for yesterday were cancelled due to the effects of the feeder bands associated with the storm.
It was disclosed that a limited operation has been mounted between St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Anguilla and Tortola, but those services could be cancelled at short notice because of the prevailing weather condition.
While LIAT is making every effort to recover the scheduled flights in the southern network, customers are advised that some services will be delayed due to disruptions caused by Tropical Storm Emily.
“LIAT will continue to monitor the changing weather conditions and will provide further information as the situation develops. Passengers are advised to monitor the LIAT web site (www.liat.com) and other media for information.
Tropical Storm Emily formed in the Caribbean Sea on early Monday evening, according to forecasters, prompting tropical storm warnings for numerous islands. The storm is expected to slowly strengthen. Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Centre (NHC) have been following the weather system since last Thursday evening when it emerged as a tropical wave between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. It quickly became better organised on Saturday and Sunday, but then suddenly failed to strengthen into a tropical storm until Monday evening.
According to the Hurricane Centre at the National Weather Service at 14:00hrs yesterday Tropical Storm Emily had been confirmed as moving westerly at some 19km/h and the storm’s centre is expected to hit the coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti sometime late today where forecasters say it could pose a serious threat. Tropical Storm force winds extend outward up to 110km mainly from the north and east of the centre.
As a result, tropical storm warnings are in effect for Dominica, Guadeloupe, Desirade, Les Saintes, Marie Galante, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra, and the Dominican Republic. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua, and Haiti.
After passing over the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Emily is forecast to head towards the Bahamas which should allow it to strengthen as it remains over water. The NHC said that there is a chance that Emily could approach the eastern coast of Florida as a hurricane on Saturday, although weather models are still conflicting on how long the storm will last and which direction it will take later this week.
Emily is the fifth named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, following Tropical Storm Don which made landfall on the south Texas coast on late Friday evening, causing no casualties and no significant damage.
According to figures released in May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Centre is expecting an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. The outlook calls for 12 to 18 named storms, with six to ten becoming hurricanes and three to six expected to become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher).
An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity in September.
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