BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Tropical Storm Matthew formed Wednesday in the eastern Caribbean and lashed several islands with heavy wind and rain.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for much of the southernmost islands of the Lesser Antilles, including Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Authorities closed the international airport in Barbados and officials in St. Lucia advised businesses to close for the day as the storm passed. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or major damage aside from isolated power outages.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Matthew had sustained winds of 60 mph. It was expected to bring rainfall of 4-8 inches to the northern Windward Islands and the southern portion of the Leeward Islands.
The hurricane center warned that the heavy rain could trigger flash floods and mudslides and that the storm was expected to gather strength in the coming days as it moves through the southern Caribbean before turning north toward Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti.
Matthew was centered about 25 miles southwest of St. Lucia and was moving west at 20 mph at 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday.