29th August 2010 – At 8am, the center of Tropical Storm Earl was located near Latitude 117.1 North/Longitude 57.6 West or approximately 501 miles east of the Virgin Islands. Earl is slowing down in forward motion and is still moving toward the west near 18 mph and this general motion is expected to continue with a gradual decrease in forward speed today. On the forecast track, the center of Earl could pass within 20 miles of the northern Leeward Islands on Monday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outwards up to 160 miles. Minimum central pressure is 985MB. Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Earl is expected to become a hurricane later today.
A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for the British and American Virgin Islands and for the islands of Culebra and Vieques. A Tropical Storm Warning has also been issued for the British Virgin Islands. A Hurricane Warning is now 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 winds conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
When Earl makes its closest approach on Monday, it is expected to be a strong category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with winds of 85 mph to 95 mph. By Wednesday, Earl is forecast to be a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph.
Tropical Storms conditions may spread over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday with hurricane conditions possible Monday night. Storm surge will raise water levels 1-3 feet above normal tide levels and the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves. Earl is expected to produce total rain fall accumulation of 3-5 inches over the northern Leeward Islands.
There is a chance that Earl could continue westward longer than currently forecast, and move closer to the islands of the northeast Caribbean. Any additional deviation to the south could result in stronger conditions affecting the Virgin Islands.
Boaters are reminded to exercise extreme caution while at sea and to continue preparations to secure their vessels. As a hurricane watch has been issued small craft are advised not to venture far from port from 10 nautical miles up to 19.5 North.
Residents are strongly urged to make final preparations early this morning.
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.