Tropical Storm Bret moved slowly westward Tuesday, drawing closer to eastern Caribbean islands that are buckling down for heavy rain from an unusually early storm.
The National Hurricane Center reported Bret was moving at 21 mph. Its fastest sustained winds are still 40 mph, well short of the 74 mph lower limit that defines a Category 1 hurricane.
The storm is expected to impact western Caribbean islands by Tuesday, with nearly hurricane-force effects.
The National Hurricane Center repeated warnings that it has had difficulty forecasting the storm’s intensity and size. Forecasters warned residents of the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to watch its progress carefully and be ready to execute hurricane plans.
Bret in the Atlantic Ocean, tying a record set in 2017 for the earliest tropical storm to form in the region during hurricane season, which starts on June 1.
A second tropical disturbance further out in the Atlantic has an 80% chance of organizing into a cyclone, according to the National Hurricane Center. If it does, it could set a new record: No June has ever seen two storms form in the Tropical Atlantic.