Tropical Storm Bret grew stronger on Wednesday as it took aim at islands in the eastern Caribbean that braced for torrential rainfall, landslides and flooding.
As of 8 p.m. Wednesday evening, Bret had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and was moving westward across the Atlantic Ocean at 15 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The storm gained both strength and speed during the day as it tracked about 330 miles east of Barbados. It's expected to grow stronger before lashing several eastern Caribbean islands on Thursday at near hurricane strength. A tropical storm warning was issued for St. Lucia and Martinique as officials in the region urged people to prepare for Bret. A tropical storm watch was in effect for Barbados and Dominica.
"We all know the uncertainty with forecasting intensity, movement and impact of weather systems," Fitzroy Pascal at Dominica's office of disaster management said.
A special aircraft is expected to investigate the storm later Wednesday and provide a better estimate of Bret's intensity, according to the hurricane center. Officials said it was too soon to know where Bret's center would pass through, but they warned that up to 10 inches of rain were forecast from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe south to Grenada and Barbados.
The government of Guadeloupe warned that inclement weather would start Thursday morning and continue until late Friday, with waves of up to 11 feet.
Antigua-based regional airline LIAT and interCaribbean Airways said the storm would disrupt several of its flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
Hurricane season started June 1, and two named storm has already formed. The first one, Arlene, formed June 2 in the Gulf of Mexico and proceeded to track south away from the United States. It dissipated before causing any major damage to islands in the area.
A tropical disturbance with an 80% chance of cyclone formation is trailing Bret. No June on record has had two storms form in the tropical Atlantic, according to meteorologist Philip Klotzbach at Colorado State University.