29th August 2010 – At 5pm, the center of Hurricane Earl was located near Latitude 17.6 North/Longitude 59.5 West or approximately 324 miles east of the Virgin Islands. Earl is now moving west-northwest near 14 mph. On the forecast track the center of Earl will pass very near the Virgin Islands tonight and Monday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 85 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 powerful Category 3 hurricane by Monday.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 175 miles. The latest minimum central pressure is 978 MB.
A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the British Virgin Islands.
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 hurricane force winds when Earl makes its closest approach. At that time Earl is expected to be a strong category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with winds near 115 mph.
Outer rain bands and squalls are now affecting the islands of Antigua and Barbuda. Beginning late tonight and into Monday tropical storm force winds will begin to spread across the British Virgin Islands followed by rapidly deteriorating conditions exposing the Territory to hurricane force winds.
Storm surge is expected to raise water levels as much as 2-4 feet above ground level near the coast line. The surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves. Earl is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 3-5 inches over the northern Leeward Islands with isolated amounts that can cause which could cause life threatening flash flood and landslides.
All preparations should have been completed by now.
The National Emergency Operations Center was formally activated by His Excellency the Governor at 5pm today following an emergency meeting with all essential services. Weather releases and advisories will continue to be posted and broadcast throughout the passage of Earl. 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 468-4200, 468-9121, 468-9416, 468-9854 and 468-9665.