Because hurricane preparedness activities become hard once winds reach tropical storm force, the Watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the onset of tropical storm force winds.
The National Hurricane Center upgraded Kirk's chances this morning as the cluster of thunderstorms moves quickly west at about 25 miles per hour.
The storm was about 415 miles east of Barbados, with sustained winds of 45 miles per hour. It was moving west-northwest at 16 miles per hour.
Tropical Storm Kirk is on a path to dump heavy rains that could bring unsafe flooding to the eastern Caribbean, forecasters said.
Tropical-storm warnings remain in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Little change in strength is forecast until Kirk moves through the central Lesser Antilles Thursday afternoon and evening.
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The upper-level winds are extremely hostile ahead, however, and Kirk is expected weaken and eventually die in the Caribbean Sea.
The complex area of low pressure that includes what's left of Subtropical Storm Leslie is organizing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane center forecasters are giving it a 50 percent chance of development over the next 48 hours.
Wind: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the warning area by Thursday afternoon, making outside preparations hard or unsafe.
While current projections have Kirk dissipating before approaching south Florida (thanks to that wind shear) when a tropical system approaches the Caribbean sea, we need to watch it.
Kirk is expected to produce total rainfall of 4 to 6 inches with higher totals of 10 inches across portions of the Lesser Antilles.
Dominica, according to the National Hurricane Center, which warned that these rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.