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HURRICANE WATCH ISSUED FOR THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

HURRICANE WATCH ISSUED FOR THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

August 27, 2010699Views

28th August 2010 At 11pm the center of Tropical Storm Earl was located near Latitude 16.6 North, Longitude 55.4 West or approximately 616 miles east of the Virgin Islands. Earl is moving toward the west near 20 mph and this general motion is expected to continue with a gradual decrease in forward speed on Sunday.  A gradual turn toward the west-northwest is expected Sunday night and Monday.  On the forecast track the center of earl could pass near or over the northern Leeward Islands Sunday night or Monday.


 Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher gusts.  Tropical storm force winds extend outwards up to 160 miles. Minimum central pressure is 989MB. Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Earl is expected to become a hurricane on Sunday.


 A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the British and American Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius and for the islands of Culebra and Vieques.   A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for St Martin, St Barthelemy, Antigua & Barbuda, Montserrat, 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.


 


In the next 48 hours forecasters expect Earl to slow down as it moves around a high pressure area to its north. On this track, Earl’s center would remain about 40 miles north of the northern Leeward Islands on Monday.


 


Earl is expected to gradually strengthen and could reach hurricane strength in about 24 hours. When Earl makes its closest approach to the Leeward Islands on Monday, it is expected to be a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with winds of 100 mph. By Tuesday, Earl is forecast to be a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph. Squalls associated with the outer bands of Earl are expected to arrive over the islands of the northeast Caribbean on Sunday afternoon, with strong thunderstorms bringing heavy rain and gusty winds. On Monday, sustained winds to tropical storm-force could be encountered across the northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to the British Virgin Islands. Heavy rainfall can be expected as Earl passes by, which will lead to localized flooding.


 


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 hurricane conditions arriving over the Virgin Islands sooner.


 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 also reminded to secure debris and to make final preparations, which should conclude no later than Sunday 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 over the weekend: 468-9121, 468-9416, 468-9854 and 468-9665.