Tropical storm Bret formed in the Atlantic yesterday, becoming perhaps the earliest storm to form so far east, which experts are saying has been fuelled by the exceptional sea surface temperatures seen in the basin.
Tropical storm Bret has been heading west towards the Caribbean, with the Lesser Antilles in its sights and is expected to strengthen its winds as it approaches.
Some hurricane forecast models have a hurricane Bret approaching the Antilles as an intensifying storm still, although most models are now opting for it to remain tropical storm Bret now, but still growing stronger on approach.
The National Hurricane Center has now downgraded its forecast somewhat, no longer opting for Bret to attain hurricane status on approach to the Caribbean.
Which means there is some uncertainty over whether tropical storm Bret will strengthen much at all, or whether it can strengthen once beyond the Antilles and in the Caribbean Sea proper.
Currently (updated as of 8am UK time on Thursday 22nd June) tropical storm Bret has strengthened to have 70 mph sustained winds, with higher gusts. Once past the Windward islands, Bret is expected to encounter wind shear in the Caribbean that may halt any further intensification of the storm.
You can see the current location of tropical storm Bret and its forecast path below.
The NHC warns of rainfall totals of 4 to 6 inches across the region, with maximum amounts of 10 inches seen as possible across portions of the Lesser Antilles from Guadeloupe southward to St. Lucia.
2 to 4 inches of rainfall are possible across Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the NHC forecasts.
This heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding, especially across areas of higher terrain and isolated urban flooding is also viewed as possible.
Winds are likely to reach mid-to-strong tropical storm strength, based on the latest forecasts, which is likely below the levels required for any parametric insurance contracts to come into play.
It seems Bret is more likely to threaten water related damage than wind at this stage, as long as it doesn’t intensify more rapidly than the NHC’s forecast model currently predicts.
Track the 2023 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season on our dedicated page and we’ll update you as any new information emerges.