Tropical storm warnings and watches have been posted for the eastern Caribbean islands. Cruise ships begin changing itineraries.

Tropical Storm Dorian, the fourth-named storm of the 2019 hurricane season, strengthened on Sunday to near hurricane force, headed for the Windward Islands.


The 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center said maximum sustained winds were near 50 mph, some 14 mph from becoming a Category 1, as the storm churned toward the eastern Caribbean islands.


At 7p.m. forecasters said the storm is headed for the Windward islands


Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm watch has been posted for St. Lucia.


The National Hurricane Center said additional watches or warnings could be issued for portions of the Windward and Leeward Islands. People in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola were advised to monitor Dorian’s path.


In advance of the storm, Royal Caribbean cruises said two of its ships, Symphony of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, changed itineraries from eastern to the western Caribbean routes.


Glad we have you in the office @JamesVanFleet so we can make the right decisions at an early stage! https://t.co/cdt32akw3Q

— Johnny Faevelen (@HarleyCaptain) August 24, 2019


James Van Fleet, Royal Caribbean’s meteorologist, confirmed on social media that Symphony of the Seas, which departed on Saturday from Miami, and will sail to San Juan, Labadee and CocoCay ports.


Harmony of the Seas, which departed Sunday from Port Canaveral will instead sail to CocoCay, Cozumel, Roatan and Costa Maya.


Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines have not released any changes to routes as of Sunday afternoon.


>>Storm 2019 - The Palm Beach Post


Dorian’s wind speeds jumped in the afternoon hours on Sunday. The early afternoon advisory pinpointed maximum sustained winds near 40 mph, with higher gusts. By the 5 p.m. update, sustained winds had risen to 50 mph, a 25 percent increase.


Tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 25 miles from the center, the advisory said.


Dorian could top hurricane strength by Tuesday over the warm eastern Caribbean Sea, the NHC said.


Dorian is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches in portions of the Lesser Antilles, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches.


The storm is moving toward the west near 14 mph and speed and the current path should continue through Sunday. A turn toward the west-northwest is expected on Monday and continue through Tuesday night.


By late Monday, Dorian’s center is expected to reach the Windward Islands.


The storm would stay to the southwest of Puerto Rico before making landfall in the Dominican Republic on Friday. But the cone indicating Dorian’s projected path also covers the southeastern most islands in the Bahamas on Friday.


Tropical Storm Dorian grew from the fifth tropical depression of the 2019 season, which had formed early Saturday.


This weekend, however, South Florida residents were spared the brunt of a tropical disturbance that brewed late last week over the Bahamas. That storm drifted northeast, taking heavy rains and wind with it.


That said, Palm Beach County forecasters are calling for mid-afternoon thunderstorms in Palm Beach County, with a high temperature of 89.


NHC also reported that a low pressure area located about 300 miles south of Cape Hatteras, NC, is likely to become a tropical or subtropical cyclone in the next few days as it moves slowly northeastward well offshore of the east coast of the U.S.