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Tropical Storm Kirk 11 a.m. update

The Cayman Islands National Weather Service says gradual weakening of Tropical Storm Kirk is anticipated during the next couple of days.

However, it says, the storm is forecast to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea as a tropical storm. In its 11 a.m. update on Thursday (27 September) NWS said the center of Tropical Storm Kirk was located near latitude 13.8 North, longitude 59.3 West and is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h).

This general motion with a slight decrease in forward speed is expected over the next few days.  On the forecast track, the center of Kirk will move across the Lesser Antilles within the Tropical Storm Warning area by this evening. Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) from the center. The minimum central pressure estimated from Air Force Hurricane Hunter observations is 999 mb (29.50 inches.) The NSW says the storm poses no immediate threat to the Cayman Islands.

Thursday the US National Hurricane Centre pointed out in its discussion on the storm: Increasing vertical shear is having a notable influence on the structure of Kirk, as visible satellite imagery shows that the low-level center of the cyclone is now exposed to the west of the main area of deep convection. Nonetheless, the Air Force Hurricane Hunters still found strong winds in that convection. Based on SFMR and flight-level winds from the Hurricane Hunters, the advisory intensity of 45 kt may be a conservative estimate. With the increasing vertical decoupling of the vortex and even stronger shear associated with upper-level westerlies over the Caribbean Sea, weakening is likely over the next couple of days. Kirk should degenerate into a remnant low in 2 to 3 days, if not sooner. The official forecast is close to the multi-model intensity consensus, IVCN.

The storm continues moving west-northwestward, with a current motion estimate of 285/13 kt. A mid-level high-pressure area just
to the east of Florida is likely to steer Kirk on a West-northwestward to westward course for the next few days. Some further slowing of forward speed is expected as the high weakens
slightly. The NHC track forecast is very close to the latest HFIP corrected consensus prediction.

Interests in the Lesser Antilles should bear in mind that, although Kirk is becoming disorganized, strong winds are still occurring over the eastern portion of the circulation. These winds are still
likely to spread westward over the islands in the Tropical Storm Warning area later today. Higher winds are especially likely over elevated terrain.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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