Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for Dominica as Hurricane Irma nears the Leeward Islands.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 24 hours.
At 5:00 am, Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.6 degrees north and longitude 57.0 degrees west or about 320 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is moving west at 14mph.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 150mph making Irma a dangerous Category 4 Hurricane.
On the forecast track, the center of Irma will move near or over portions of the northern Leeward Islands Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
Although the center of Irma is expected to pass approximately 170 miles to the north of Dominica this evening into early Wednesday, a deterioration in conditions is expected with showers, which could be moderate to heavy at times, thunderstorms and gusty winds up to tropical storm force.
Dangerous seas are expected to affect Dominica up to Wednesday.
A Small-Craft Warning and a High-Surf Advisory are in effect for dangerous seas and high winds. All users of the sea are advised to take all necessary precautions to protect life and property.
A small-craft Warning means in this case that surface winds greater than or equal to 25knots and seas equal to or greater than 3m (10ft) are already affecting or expected to affect the marine area.
A High-Surf Advisory is issued when breaking wave action poses or is expected to pose a threat to life and property within the surf zone.
Expected rainfall amount for Dominica is between 3 to 5 inches (75 to 125mm) with higher amounts in elevated areas.
· Mariners and other users of the sea should remain extremely cautious and do not venture far from port. All sea bathers stay out of the water.
· Persons in areas prone to flooding, landslides and falling rocks are advised to be extremely vigilant and to exercise extreme caution as flash flooding and winds gusting to tropical storm force are possible today into Wednesday.
· Be on the lookout for fast rising water. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS FLOODED ROAD or WATER-WAYS.
The next Bulletin on Hurricane Irma will be issued by the Meteorological Service at 8a.m.