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Ernesto spares Barbados

By NEWSDAY STAFF Saturday, August 4 2012

click on pic to zoom in
PATH OF BAD WEATHER: This photo image taken from an online weather tracking website shows the projected path of Tropical Storm Ernesto, which is expec...
PATH OF BAD WEATHER: This photo image taken from an online weather tracking website shows the projected path of Tropical Storm Ernesto, which is expec...

IT WAS A close shave but in the end Barbados was spared as Tropical Storm Ernesto — the fifth named storm in the 2012 Hurricane Season — did not hit that Caribbean nation which is in the midst of its annual Crop Over celebrations.

Early yesterday morning, the National Hurricane Centre in Miami reported that Ernesto swept north of the island with the eye of the storm 35 miles Northwest of Barbados. While Barbados escaped the direct effect of the storm, Jamaica may not be so lucky.

Ernesto was expected to strengthen into a Category One hurricane by Monday and based on its current projected path, Jamaica could face a direct hit or at best, get feeder bands from the hurricane if it passes close but misses that country.

A bulletin issued by the Meteorological Office of Trinidad and Tobago stated that at 2 pm yesterday the centre of Ernesto was located 140 km west of St Lucia, continuing to move westwards into the Caribbean Sea and away from the Windward Islands, staying on the same track for the next 48 hours.

The Met Office reiterated that TT is not under any tropical storm threat, watch or warning and that weather conditions are continuously being monitored. Citizens will be informed of any event of concern in a timely manner, the advisory said.

Clint Williams, Head of Corporate Communications at Caribbean Airlines, said the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados was closed from midnight Thursday to 10 am yesterday but flights had resumed from 11 am. With the storm heading into the Caribbean Sea, all flights to and from Barbados will remain as scheduled over the weekend, he assured.

TT masman Mike “Big Mike” Antoine assured that plans are on schedule for Crop Over celebrations this weekend in Barbados. “We are going ahead as planned. God is a West Indian,” said Antoine. He said his full staff of ten people and all of his Carnival costumes are already in Barbados for the celebrations. He himself will be leaving this morning on a Caribbean Airlines flight to Barbados.

Antoine said there were some delays on Thursday due to the closing of Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, he was sure everything will work out well.

Charlene Clarke, Manager and Strategic Planner at Unlimited Resources said Tropical Storm Ernesto did not affect any of their tours in Barbados, they did experience a delay of some two hours but everything was back to its regular schedule.

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Centre said it was unlikely that Ernesto will turn towards Florida, as a strong ridge of high pressure should keep the system on a more westerly track. The Centre said Ernesto was likely to move through or near the Yucatan Channel into the southern Gulf of Mexico by the middle of next week. It was too early for the Centre to determine whether the storm would disrupt oil and gas operations in the Gulf.

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