Schools Close As Tropical Disturbance Nears Caribbean

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The government of Trinidad & Tobago closed schools on Tuesday as forecasters warned that a tropical disturbance would bring heavy rains and gusty winds to the southeastern Caribbean.

The approaching storm also prompted Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines to cancel at least four flights. Meanwhile, Barbados shuttered its public sector on Tuesday afternoon and suspended all public transportation.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Trinidad & Tobago as well as Grenada and its dependencies, with forecasters warning that up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain could fall there and in northeastern Venezuela. A warning also was issued for the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Meanwhile, a tropical storm watch was issued for the northern coast of Venezuela from the Paraguana peninsula past the border with Colombia to the town of Santa Marta, as well as the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

Long lines formed at gas stations and grocery stores across Trinidad as the tropical disturbance approached.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the system expected to grow into Tropical Storm Bonnie would pass over or near the southern Windward Islands on Tuesday night.

On Tuesday evening, it was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) east of Trinidad and was heading west at 25 mph (40 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph).

Another disturbance further out in the Atlantic had a lower chance of becoming a named storm later in the week.

Far out in the eastern Pacific, meanwhile, forecasters said former Tropical Storm Celia became a remnant low. The storm had formed off the coast of Central America on June 17.