29th August 2010 – At 2pm, the center of Hurricane Earl was located near Latitude 17.4 North/Longitude 58.9 West or approximately 372 miles east of the Virgin Islands. Earl is now moving west-northwest near 15 mph. On the forecast track the center of Earl will pass near the Virgin Islands tonight and Monday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph with higher gusts. Earl is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours and Earl is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles. The latest minimum central pressure reported by an Air force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 978 MB.
A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for the British and US Virgin Islands and for the islands of Culebra and Vieques. A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the BVI, USVI and Puerto Rico including the islands of Culebra and Vieques. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Antigua & Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts & Nevis and Anguilla.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force wind conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
Anegada is expected to experience the strongest effects from the system with a possible hurricane force winds when Earl makes its closest approach. At that time Earl is expected to be a strong category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with winds of 100-110 mph. Forecasters have indicated that Earl could strengthen to a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph.
Outer rain bands of Earl are now approaching the islands of Antigua and Barbuda. Beginning late tonight and into Monday tropical storm force winds will spread across the British Virgin Islands. By Tuesday conditions will begin to improve.
Storm surge is expected to raise water levels as much as 1-3 feet above ground level near the coast line. The surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves. Earl is expected to produce rain fall accumulations of 3-5 inches over the northern Leeward Islands with isolated amounts that can cause flash flood and landslides.
The DDM strongly urges all vessels to seek safe harbor immediately. All preparations should have been completed by now.
The DDM remains on high alert, monitoring systems and providing weather releases throughout the weekend. Please visit the Department of Disaster Management’s website at www.bviddm.com for continuously updated information. In the event that persons wish to contact DDM officers, they can do so by calling the following numbers, which would be available throughout the weekend: 468-9121, 468-9416, 468-9854 and 468-9665.