Regional airline cancels flights as stronger tropical storm approaches


The regional airline, LIAT, Wednesday announced the cancellation of several flights as a strengthening Tropical Storm Kirk moved closer towards the Lesser Antilles.

LIAT said that several of its flights would either be delayed or cancelled “in the interest of passenger and crew safety” and that it would continue to track this system and update passengers on changes to its schedule.

According to the airline, among the flights cancelled are LI 336 from Trinidad to Barbados, LI 368 from Barbados to St. Lucia, LI 369 from St. Lucia to Barbados, LI 769 from Barbados to St. Vincent

LI 770 from St. Vincent to Barbados.

It said that several other flights have been retimed including the LI 523 departs Barbados for Grenada, the LI 523 departs Grenada for Trinidad and LI 393 which departs Barbados for Ogle in Guyana.

Meanwhile, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that Kirk had strengthened with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (mph).

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique and Guadeloupe while a tropical storm watch is in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In its latest bulletin, NHC said that the center of the storm was located near latitude 12.5 North, longitude 55.0 West and that it is moving toward the west near 18 mph.

“A westward to west-northwestward motion is expected over the next few days.  On the forecast track, the center will move over the Lesser Antilles within the Tropical Storm Warning area Thursday night.”

NHC said that reports from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mph with higher gusts and that little change in strength is forecast until Kirk crosses the Lesser Antilles, followed by weakening over the eastern Caribbean Sea.

It said that tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the warning area by Thursday afternoon, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous and that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area by Thursday afternoon or evening.

“Kirk is expected to produce total rainfall of four to six inches across the northern Windward and southern Leeward Islands with isolated maximum totals up to 10 inches across Martinique and Dominica.  These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” the NHc warned.

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