On Monday, Tropical Storm Bret developed in the central Atlantic Ocean, raising concerns among forecasters saying that it could potentially become a hurricane, posing a threat to the eastern Caribbean. Bret emerged from a tropical depression, a type of cyclone which is defined as an atmospheric low pressure system with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported that at 5 p.m. Monday, Bret had sustained winds of 40 mph while moving westward at 21 mph. Meteorologists anticipate its strengthening over the next 48 hours, reaching Category 1 hurricane status with speeds of 74 mph by Wednesday night as it approaches the Lesser Antilles. However, due to wind shear, it is unlikely to intensify into a Category 2 storm.
The forecast indicates that Bret is likely to pass over the Lesser Antilles as a hurricane on Thursday and Friday, bringing heavy rainfall, flooding, dangerous storm surge, and waves. The storm is expected to gradually weaken while remaining in the eastern Caribbean area, although the accuracy of the prediction is currently low.
The National Hurricane Center advised the residents of the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to closely monitor updates on the storm’s trajectory and to have their hurricane plans ready. There is a possibility that Bret may turn northward or continue westward towards the Caribbean, potentially affecting the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and other islands. However, the forecast path remains uncertain at this stage.
Notably, it has been nearly a century since a storm in the tropical Atlantic has intensified into a hurricane during June, with the last recorded instance being Trinidad in 1933, according to meteorologist Philip Klotzbach from Colorado State University.
Earlier this month, Tropical Storm Arlene, the first storm of the 2023 season, formed but dissipated within two days without posing a threat to land.
The Associated Press contributed to this report