Tropical Storm Bret (2017)
|Tropical storm (SSHWS/NWS)|
|Formed||June 19, 2017|
|Dissipated||June 20, 2017|
|Highest winds||1-minute sustained: 50 mph (85 km/h) |
|Lowest pressure||1007 mbar (hPa); 29.74 inHg|
|Fatalities||1 direct, 1 indirect|
|Damage||≥ $2.96 million (2017 USD)|
|Areas affected||Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Venezuela, Windward Islands|
|Part of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season|
Tropical Storm Bret was the earliest named storm to develop in the Main Development Region of the Atlantic basin on record. Bret formed from a low-latitude tropical wave that had moved off the coast of Africa on June 12. The disturbance moved swiftly across the Atlantic for several days, steadily organizing despite its low latitude. On June 18, the organization increased enough for the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to begin issuing warnings disturbance while it was located southeast of the Windward Islands. The system continued to organize, and by the next day, it had developed into a tropical storm, the second of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Bret continued moving swiftly to the west and struck Trinidad and Tobago early on June 20, before entering the Caribbean Sea, dissipating shortly afterwards.
Starting in the 2017 season, the NHC changed its policy to allow tropical storm watches and warnings to be issued for tropical disturbances that do not yet satisfy the definition of a tropical cyclone, but are expected to in short order while posing the threat of tropical storm-force winds to landmasses. Thus, on June 18, although the vigorous tropical wave—the precursor to Bret—did not meet formal classification standards, the NHC began issuing advisories on what was considered a potential tropical cyclone. Bret left about $3 million (2017 USD) in damage and two deaths,[a] with both in Trinidad and Tobago.
A tropical wave emerged into the Atlantic from the west coast of Africa at a low-latitude on June 13. Although the wave was initially accompanied by a large area of showers and thunderstorms, convection diminished later the following day. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) began discussing the system in its Tropical Weather Outlooks (TWO) while the wave was located well south of Cabo Verde on June 14, though any organization was expected to be slow as the system tracked swiftly westward. Deep convection flared sporadically as the wave moved westward under the influence of a mid-level ridge situated to the north during the next few days. On June 16, cloudiness associated with the feature began to show signs of organization. ASCAT data around 12:00 UTC on June 18 indicated that a broad low pressure area developed, but lacked a well-defined circulation. A large area of 29 to 35 mph (47 to 56 km/h) winds was noted just north of the broad low. At 21:00 UTC, the NHC issued their first-ever advisory on a potential tropical cyclone. Despite winds of tropical storm-force, it was inconclusive whether the system possessed a closed low-level circulation.
Convection continued to increase on June 19, and around 18:00 UTC, a reconnaissance aircraft investigating the low found a well-defined center. As a result, the low became Tropical Storm Bret at this time, while situated about 185 mi (300 km) east-southeast of Trinidad. The NHC began advisories on Bret three hours later. Upon its formation, Bret became the earliest named storm on record in the Atlantic basin’s main development region, surpassing a record held by 1979's Tropical Storm Ana. Also upon developing, the cyclone attained its minimum barometric pressure of 1,007 mbar (29.7 inHg). Bret moved swiftly westward towards Trinidad and Tobago at speeds of nearly 30 mph (48 km/h), an unusually fast pace for a tropical cyclone, especially at such a low latitude. The storm was not expected to intensify significantly or last long due to increasing vertical wind shear and land interaction with Venezuela.
Early on June 20, a small central dense overcast formed near the center of Bret while satellite presentation improved. At 02:00 UTC, the system made landfall in southwestern Trinidad with winds of 50 mph (85 km/h), the storm's maximum sustained wind speed. After crossing the island, Bret emerged into the Gulf of Paria, before making another landfall on the Paria Peninsula of Venezuela at 09:00 UTC on June 20 at the same intensity. The effects of the hostile environment the cyclone was entering soon began to take its toll on the system, with the cloud pattern of the system becoming elongated. By 12:00 UTC, Bret was no longer a tropical cyclone as the circulation had dissipated. Operationally, the NHC continued advisories until 21:00 UTC, with the system located near Bonaire. Regeneration was not expected, but after crossing Central America and entering the eastern Pacific, the remnants of Bret contributed to the development of Hurricane Dora on June 26.
Preparations, impact, and aftermath
On June 18, a tropical storm warning was raised for portions of the Windward Islands. This marked the first time a tropical storm warning was issued prior to becoming a tropical cyclone, following a change in NHC policy that enabled them to issue warnings on tropical disturbances if they posted a threat to land within 48 hours. These were expanded to include portions of Venezuela and the ABC islands the following afternoon. In anticipation of the storm, schools in Nueva Esparta suspended classes. Seafaring vessels were prohibited from leaving port.
Trinidad and Tobago
In preparation for the storm, businesses across Trinidad and Tobago advised employees not involved in essential services to remain home, and schools were closed. Community centers, schools, and churches were transformed into emergency shelters, with 72 shelters opened on Tobago alone. Caribbean Airline canceled its afternoon services, resulting in hundreds of stranded passengers. Meanwhile, Port Authority canceled all ferry services. The Health Ministries canceled all elective surgeries.
Trees were downed, roofs were blown off homes and businesses, and power lines were toppled as the storm approached the island. Heavy rainfall from Bret flooded portions of South Trunk Road, an under-construction roadway in Mosquito Creek, Trinidad. Gusty winds also impacted Trinidad, with a gust of 66 km/h (41 mph) being observed at the Piarco International Airport, where 6.7 centimetres (2.6 in) of rainfall had also been recorded through the overnight hours of June 19–20. One man died in Trinidad after slipping off a makeshift bridge and hitting his head on June 20, which was slippery after rainfall from the tropical storm; thus it is classified as an indirect death. In Tobago, a man died of his injuries a week after his house collapsed on him during June 21. Damage from flooding in Barrackpore alone was reported to reach millions of dollars. Hundreds of homes were affected by flooding, with some inundated by 0.9 to 1.21 m (3.0 to 4.0 ft) of water. The medical records department of the Port-of-Spain General Hospital was temporarily closed after rainwater leaked into the structure. Five schools suffered damage, with two remaining closed a week after the storm. Total damage exceeded TT$20 million (US$2.96 million).
On June 24, four days after the passage of Bret, the chairman of the San Juan–Laventille Regional Corporation announced that residents, as well as farmers in Aranguez, would be receiving assistance through the region's relief fund beginning by the end of the current week. A TT$25 million (US$3.7 million) fund was established; however, this was later criticized as inadequate. Eventually, on June 30, the local government began to distribute approximately TT$10 million (US$1.48 million) in cheques to flood victims. A soup kitchen was opened for affected residents on July 1, and served approximately 500 bowls on its first day.
Heavy rainfall in Venezuela caused flooding along coastal areas of the country; schools were temporarily closed on Margarita Island. Winds in excess of 75 km/h (45 mph) uprooted trees and caused structural damage across Margarita Island. Two people suffered storm-related injuries when a wall collapsed. Rough seas floundered boats, driving several onshore in Pampatar. Large mudslides damaged or destroyed many homes. Approximately 800 families were significantly affected in Miranda state, of whom 400 lost their homes. Across the country, 14,075 people were directly affected by the storm. Following the storm, President Nicolas Maduro approved US$19 million in emergency funds for relief efforts. In Nueva Esparta, 250 families were provided support to rebuild their homes, and the multipurpose ship Tango 94 was dispatched to provide relief materials to Margarita Island.
- Other tropical cyclones named Bret
- 1933 Trinidad hurricane – a rare hurricane that moved through the Windward Islands and across the Caribbean in late June
- Tropical Storm Alma (1974) – similar storm that hit Trinidad in 1974
- Tropical Storm Bret (1993) – similar storm that devastated Venezuela in early August
- Tropical Storm Earl (2004) – passed through similar areas as a moderate tropical storm in mid-August
- All damage figures are in 2017 USD, unless otherwise noted
- Michael J. Brennan (March 5, 2018). Tropical Cyclone Report: Tropical Storm Bret (PDF) (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Eric S. Blake (June 14, 2017). "Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Lixion A. Avila (June 16, 2017). "Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Michael J. Brennan (June 18, 2017). Potential Tropical Cyclone Two Advisory Number 1 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Stacy R. Stewart (June 18, 2017). Potential Tropical Cyclone Two Discussion Number 2 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Christopher W. Landsea (June 19, 2017). Tropical Storm Bret Discussion Number 5 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Phillip Klotzbach [@philklotzbach] (June 19, 2017). "Tropical Storm #Bret has formed - earliest Atlantic MDR (<20°N, E of 70°W) named storm on record - prior record was Ana on 6/22/1979" (Tweet). Retrieved March 10, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Dave Roberts (June 20, 2017). Tropical Storm Bret Discussion Number 6 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Lixion A. Avila (June 20, 2017). Tropical Storm Bret Discussion Number 8 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- Dave Roberts (June 19, 2017). Remnants of Bret Discussion Number 10 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Robbie J. Berg (November 20, 2017). Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Dora (PDF) (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
- Michael J. Brennan (June 18, 2017). Potential Tropical Cyclone Two Discussion Number 1 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Christopher W. Landsea (June 19, 2017). Potential Tropical Cyclone Two Public Advisory Number 4 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- "Suspendidas las clases en Nueva Esparta ante tormenta Bret" (in Spanish). Globovision. June 19, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
- "Bad Bret - Tropical storm forms". Trinidad Express Newspapers. June 19, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Rhondor Dowlat (June 19, 2017). "Roofs torn off, trees crash as Bret flexes muscle". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Elizabeth Williams (June 19, 2017). "Tobago shuts down; THA budget pushed back". Daily Express. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- Derek Achong (June 19, 2017). "Passengers stranded at airport, sea port". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Carolyn Kissoon (June 20, 2017). "Flood Chaos on the Mosquito Creek". Daily Express. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- Bob Henson (June 20, 2017). "Downpours Sweep into Southeast Ahead of Tropical Storm Cindy". Weather Underground. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- "Tropical Storm Bret blamed for at least one death". RJR News. June 21, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- Gyasi Gonzales (June 20, 2017). "Man dies after slipping off makeshift bridge*". Daily Express. Retrieved June 22, 2017.[permanent dead link]
- Williams, Elizabeth (June 30, 2017). "Man injured when Bret destroyed home, has died". Trinidad Express. Retrieved July 1, 2017.[permanent dead link]
- Carolyn Kissoon (June 20, 2017). "Barrackpore after Bret: $millions in damage". Daily Express. Retrieved June 23, 2017.[permanent dead link]
- Carol Matroo (June 27, 2017). "TT still cleaning after Bad Bret". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
- "Medical dept reopens today". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. June 29, 2017. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
- "3 schools reopen, but 2 still closed". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. June 27, 2017. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
- Gail Alexander (June 24, 2017). "Bret Tests for T&T". Trinidad & Tobago Guardian. Retrieved August 2, 2017. (subscription required)
- Corey Connelly (June 25, 2017). "Aranguez farmers count losses". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
- Arnold Gopeesingh (June 25, 2017). "$25M will not do the job". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
- Lord, Richard (July 1, 2017). "Govt pays out disaster relief". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- "Soup kitchen for Bret victims". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. July 3, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
- Ryan Mallett-Outtrim (June 22, 2017). "Venezuela's Maduro Approves Nearly $19 Million for Storm Clean-up". venezuelaanalysis.com. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
- "Los daños causados por Bret en Margarita". El Nacional (in Spanish). June 20, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
- "Gobierno atiende a 800 familias en Miranda afectadas por tormenta Bret". El Universal (in Spanish). June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
- "Más de 14 mil personas afectadas dejó la tormenta Bret en Venezuela" (in Spanish). Efecto Cocuyo. June 21, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
- "Gmbnbt atendió a 250 familias afectadas por tormenta Bret en Nueva Esparta" (in Spanish). Radio Nacional de Venezuela. June 30, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
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