The eastern Caribbean Island of Barbados shut down today (August 26) bracing for Tropical Storm Dorian, which is approaching the area and gaining strength.

Forecasters say the storm is “threatening to turn into a small hurricane” and “could affect the northern Windward islands and Puerto Rico in upcoming days”.

According to the report published by The Loop, a news website based in Jamaica: “Prime Minister Mia Mottley closed schools and government offices across Barbados as she warned people to remain indoors.”

In an appeal televised late Sunday night, she said: “When you’re dead, you’re dead. Stay inside and get some rest.”

The report continued: “The US National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for St Lucia and a tropical storm warning for Barbados, Martinique, St Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“It also issued a tropical storm watch for Dominica, Grenada, Saba and St Eustatius. The storm was expected to dump between 3 to 8 inches (8 to 20 centimeters) of rain in Barbados and nearby islands, with isolated amounts of 10 inches (25 centimeters).

“As of 11am EDT Monday, the fourth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was centered about 135 miles (220 kilometers) east-southeast of Barbados and moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).

“Maximum sustained winds were at 60 mph (85 kph). Forecasters said it could brush past southwest Puerto Rico late Wednesday as a Category 1 hurricane and then strike the southeast corner of the Dominican Republic early Thursday.

“In Barbados, many of the 285,000 inhabitants heeded the government’s warning.

“In the US territory of Puerto Rico, hundreds of people have been crowding into grocery stores and gas stations to prepare for Dorian, buying food, water and generators, among other things.

“Many are worried about power outages and heavy rains on an island still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that hit nearly two years ago.

“Some 30,000 homes still have blue tarps as roofs and the electrical grid remains fragile and prone to outages even during brief rain showers.”