Caribbean Hurricane Network
- Updates from the Islands -
Part 2 of archive of weather discussions and eye witness reports from the Caribbean Islands in the 2001 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Postings are in reverse chronological order (so it might be easier to start reading at the bottom of this page and work your way up to follow the timeline). For current events look here.
Index: | Iris | Jerry | Karen | Lorenzo | Michelle | Noel | Olga
In part 1 you will find: Season Preview | Allison | Barry | Chantal | Dean | Erin | Felix | Gabrielle | Humberto
The heart of the Caribbean Hurricane Network are the personal reports send in by the special hurricane correspondents on the islands. An index of island reports can be found on in part 1.
|- - - Olga - - -|
Mon, 26 Nov 2001 12:45EST - Not over yet...
A new (sub)tropical storm formed in the Atlantic. This storm is centered well north of the Caribbean Islands, so we have nothing to worry about though. However, it's is about 500 miles east of Bermuda, since it is now more or less stationary it's hard to tell where it will go, but I don't think it will ever reach Bermuda.
|- - - Michelle - - -|
Mon, 5 Nov 2001 10:45EST - Bahamas OK!?
It looks like that the Bahamas were spared! It did pass over Andros earlier and the latest (10AM) advisories show that the eye is currently at it's closest approach with Nassau, New Providence (24 miles southeast). So it is taking a little more southernly path. This means that it will go more over the middle of Eleuthra as well. 'It' is the eye, with the strongest winds, however, looking on satellite pictures, the deep convection is not surrounding the eye anymore, but more to the north. The deep convection is over Abaco and Grand Bahama right now. It is a strange storm indeed. Esp. looking back at my prediction yesterday that the eye of Michelle would cross Nassau at 4PM this afternoon, instead of now (6 hours earlier!). Indeed, even the 4AM advisories showed that the closest point of apprach would be reach around 4PM (4:30PM to be more exact). But then the 10AM advisories take it right there. It has speed up considerable but (from 13 to 18mph) but that still cannot explain the discrepancy. This moreover shows that we shouldn't focus on the eye to much but take in the bigger (satellite) picture. Right now maximum sustained winds are down to 'only' 85 mph, a category 1 hurricane. It looks like it is weakening fast, since it is very disorganized now, with a dislocated center, so Bermuda shouldn't worry windwise too much either. Check out the latest reports from our special hurricane correspondents on the Bahamas, Cayman and Cuba
Sun, 4 Nov 2001 23:55EST - Bahamas next...
The center of Michelle is still over Cuba, but is luckily moving along at a 13mph. Due to the interaction with land it has lost some of its strength, maximum sustained winds are down to 110mph, or a borderline Category 2/3 hurricane. I am sure it has done extensive damage to Cuba. Communications are done now mostly through HAM radios so I don't expect my special hurricane correspondents on the island to check in soon. That doesn't mean that they are not ok though. Power and phone service will be down, making it impossible to relay a message to me. I find the Yahoo! Full Coverage one of the best source of 'official' press releases.
So now it's on to the Bahamas. The forecasted track still hasn't changed much. The National Hurricane Center indicates that the eye will pass over Andros, then New Providence (where the capital Nassau is located and neighbored by the very popular touris destination, Paradise Island), then passing over northern Eleuthra. The eye will be over Nassau in about 18 hours (relative to the 10PM EST advisory) or around 4PM Monday. Hurricane force winds extend outward to about 50 miles, or will be felt around 4 hours earlier. Tropical storm force winds can be felt within 5 hours. For Andros Island this will be a couple of hours earlier, for Eleuthra a couple of hours later. Maximum sustained winds are expected to be around 105 mph in 12 hours, and around 90 in 24 hours. Regardless, don't focus too much on the eye itself. Strong winds will be felt in a large area, and also the torrential downpours will cause extreme flooding. I couldn't find a tide table for New Providence, but on Great Bahamas Island (Settlement Point) low tide is tomorrow at 4:53PM. If it is low tide around the same time at New Providence then less beach erosion will take place. In any case, Bahamas: be prepared, it's almost there. Local reports from the Bahamas can be found here. There are also many reports from Cayman and a few from Cuba.
Sun, 4 Nov 2001 14:30EST - Cuba...
Well, another proof that intensity forecasting is very hard to do... Just like with Iris, Mitch and Keith, which coincidentally (?) also were located in the Western Caribbean, it all of a sudden took off. In just a matter of hours it went from a Category 1 storm with 85mph winds, to a Severe Category 3 Hurricane packing over 120mph winds! Right now it is an 'extreme' category 4 hurricane with 135mph winds and it is only hours away from making landfall in Cuba... From there it is expected to pass just south of Florida onto the Bahamas... It is expected that Michelle's eye will move over Andros, followed by New Providence and moving in between Eleuthra and Abaco. Please be aware that this is a relative fast moving hurricane. The advisories show right now (see the cpoa-calculator) that the eye of the storm will pass straight over Nassau, New Providence at about 2PM EDT (in 28 hours from the latest advisory)! Hurricane force winds can be felt 4 hours earlier. By that time it is still a borderline Category 3 hurricane (115mph). I hope that Michell will lose much of its punch when it moves over the moutainous areas of Cuba. The good thing with fast moving hurricanes is that it will be over soon, and that it won't rain for that long, causing fewer floods. On the other hand, there is less time to prepare! See above for links to the local updates by our special hurricane correspondents on Cayman, Cuba and the other islands.
Fri, 2 Nov 2001 12:15EST - Cayman
A tropical storm watch has just been issued for the Cayman Islands. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm force winds might be experienced within 36 hours. Currently tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles and the center is still 195 away. It's forecasted closest point of approach is currently 178 miles reached in 18 hours (from the 10AM EST advisories). The Marine Forecast show that at that time tropical storm winds extend is still about 115 miles from the center. So if the predictions hold true then Cayman will be ok windwise. Also, the islands can handle category 2 hurricane force winds. When it becomes a category 3 it is getting more problematic. But again, hurricanes, esp. slow-moving ones, can be very unpredictable, not only it's path but more so it's itensity. I am most worried about the torrential rains, which, esp. in the moutainous areas of Cuba can produce deadly landslides.
Fri, 2 Nov 2001 11:55EST - Cuba...?
Earlier this morning Michelle has been upgraded to hurricane status. An eye has become apparent on the latest satellite images (see eye-centered GOES-8 ). It is still meandering in the western caribbean (currently about 192 miles from Cayman, 264 miles from Cozumel, 363 miles from Havana, Cuba). Since it isn't moving much, it is hard to predict what it will do. The latest advisories bring Michelle a little closer to the Cayman Islands (180 miles). Though the winds won't be the biggest problem. The Cayman Islands have already received a lot of rain from this system over the last week (!), and the outer bands are currently moving over Cayman, producing even more rain (see My Satellite). The storm is expected to pass over Western Cuba. The eye will make landfall in Cuba in about 60 hours as it looks right now. The latest advisories indicate that the eye of the storm will pass only about 30 miles to the east of Havana. Keep in mind that Cuba is a very large island (775 mile long!) and the eastern side (where for example the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay is located) will probably hardly feel any effect of the storm.
What will Michelle do after Cuba? Too early to tell, if the turn to the east isn't sharp enough it might make landfall in southern Florida, otherwise, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas... Let's hope that Michelle will lose much of it's punch after it moves over Cuba. While intensity is hard to forecast, the advisories show that Michelle might be a Category 3 or 'extensive' hurricane by the time it makes landfall. I expect the torrential rains associated with Michelle to be the biggest problem. Read the reports from our special correspondents on Cayman and Cuba.
Thu, 1 Nov 2001 - Michelle
Tropical Depression 15 was upgraded to tropical storm Michelle. It has strenghtened pretty fast, already almost reaching hurricane status. After dropping tons of rain in Honduras and Nicaragua the system is finally moving. It is still expected to pass about 200 miles to the west of the Cayman Islands.
Mon, 29 Oct 2001 - 15
And another tropical depression. This one is in the far western Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Nicaragua. The outflow of this system has already produced significant rainfall in the area (see e.g. the Cayman-updates). It is expected to move northward, staying over 200 miles west of the Caymans...
|- - - Lorenzo - - -|
Mon, 29 Oct 2001 - Lorenzo
Tropical Depression Fourteen becomes Tropical Storm Lorenzo. Still no threat to land. Even Bermuda will be save.
Sat, 27 Oct 2001 - 14
The season isn't over yet. But this one won't be a late partypooper. Tropical depression is already pretty far north (10 degrees latitude north of Antigua), and it will stay about 1600 miles away from the islands. Unless something drastically changes we don't have to worry about this one.
|- - - Iris + Jerry - - -|
Tue, 9 Oct 2001 - Belize
Bad news. Iris made landfall as a Category-4, extreme hurricane in Belize, close to the Monkey River area, with sustained winds topping 145mph. This is comparable with Hurricane Andrew. Last year Belize got hit by Keith, also a category 4 hurricane, and now Iris. Updates from the hurricane correspondents in Belize will be posted as they come in (although, unfortunately I don't have as many contacts in Belize compared to some of the islands). If you are desperately looking for someone you can post your plea for help on the bulletin board. When you have some news, please forward it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, so I can post it on the website.
Mon, 8 Oct 2001 15:00EDT - Bay Islands...
And indeed, the National Hurricane Center was not able to forecast Iris' intensity. 'All of a sudden' it's a 140mph hurricane, a category-4 or extreme hurricane! It is only a small one though. Hurricane force winds only extend outward upto 15 miles from the center. It is also taking a little more southernly route, bringing it very close to the Bay Islands of Honduras. As it looks right now, both Roatan and Guanaja are, and will stay, just out of reach of the hurricane force winds. But it is a close call, the closest point of approach is only about 22 miles! A direct hit for Belize seems inevitable though. Hopefully it won't become a Category-5 Hurricane...
As for Jerry, it doesn't really seems to get his act together. Not much problems reported in St.Vincent or St.Lucia (see above for local updates). It is however still heading for Jamaica, who after all were better prepared for Iris as we first thought. Right now it is expected to pass just south of the island in about 65 hours as a minimal hurricane, however, this long range forecasts are prone to large errors.
Sun, 7 Oct 2001 19:00EDT - Irie Iris and Jammin' Jerry
Jamaica was so lucky that Irie Iris (as named by Robert Krucia, one of our special hurricane correspondents from Trinidad & Tobago) took a more southernly path so that instead of moving straight over the island it went well south. Esp. since they didn't seem to be too prepared (see reports)! Hurricane Iris is now very near it's closest point of approach to the Cayman Islands. And they will luck out too. It looks like Iris' center will stay about 125 miles south of the island. Since this is only a small hurricane, they might not even get tropical storm force winds. Looking at My Satellite for Grand Cayman the first bands of rains are moving in.
Iris is expected to make landfall in the northern part of Belize or the Yucatan Peninsula. The 3 day forecast projects that the center will go straight over Ambergris Caye in 34 hours. It might be a strong category 2 hurricane at that time. So it doesn't look as bad as with Keith last year, but still, as we have seen many times in the past, it is a lot easier to forecast the path then it's strength.
And then we have Jammin' Jerry too. It moved just south of Barbados, and is heading for St.Vincent (cpoa: 22.3 miles south, 5.5 hours from 5PM EDT advisories). So far it is still just a tropical storm. However, after it crosses the islands, it is expected to move towards Jamaica. And by the time it reaches that island (3 days), it might be a strong hurricane! Although these long range forecasts are really uncertain, I hope Jamaica will take this one more seriously as it gets closes as it did with Iris!!!
Sun, 7 Oct 2001 09:20:51 -0300 - Iris and Jerry
As Hurricane Iris continues to harass Jamaica and then continue on to traumatize the Caymans, TS Jerry threatens Barbados and the lower windwards at this time.The ridge to the north of the islands is keeping Jerry from turning more to the north so a west/west-northwest track is the projected one at this time. However, all correspondents know the fickleness of these storms so, if you are close to the projected path, please check your preparations, even if it is only a tropical storm at this time.
Jerry's forecast path takes it to hurricane status in 72 hours but I believe it won't take that long. Also, I think it will wobble a tad farther north than the middle of projections as these storms will exploit the least tiny weakness in any supressing ridge. This will bring it closer to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Time will tell.
Welcome back Huck from the VI and a big hello to all correspondents.
Sat, 6 Oct 2001 09:22:55 -0300 - Iris and Beyond
While Tropical Storm Iris rumbles through the eastern Caribbean on her way to Jamaica, another tropical wave behind her is making noise as well and should become a tropical depression by the 11:00 am advisory or the 5:00 pm advisory at the latest. I just checked the various water vapor loops and this wave was actually more impressive overnight than Iris was! It's projected path at this moment brings it extremely, uncomfortably close to St. Maarten, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, quite possible at medium tropical storm status Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Yes, we do need the rain as Iris was not that accomodating to us here in the Northern Leeward Islands but......
Iris is projected to become a hurricane in the next 24-48 hours and gradually make her way over the Yucatan Peninsula. I see a major hurricane if she slows down a bit before reaching that area and then long range models get confused. Time will tell.
Fri, 5 Oct 2001 17:30EDT - Iris
Wow, things can change quickly! Yesterday the 11th tropical depression didn't look like it was going to develop into something. But the latest advisory forecast that Iris will be a hurricane in 24 hours! As it looks now the center of Iris will stay south of Hispaniola and Cuba, but move straight over Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Some closest points of approach of the center of the storm: Kingston, Jamaica: 25 miles, in 43 hours; Montego Bay, Jamaica: 0.9 miles (!) in 48 hours; Grand Cayman (airport): 4 miles in 68 hours. But don't focus on the eye too much. Although it will be a hurricane, it will stay 'just' a category-1 storm. I expect the biggest problem to be the accompanying torrential rains. Looking at the satellite images it looks like a big storm. Esp. Dominican Republic with its mountains, and Puerto Rico can expect flooding, mudslides, etc.
Mon, 24 Sep 2001 21:34:15 -0300 - Quiet but Interesting
Helo everyone! Not much happening in the tropics relevant to the Caribbean but still, don't let the calm lull your senses yet as it appears to the Atlantic is becoming a little more "storm-friendly" albeit later in the hurricane season. As we all know, they can form under our nose's with alarming speed once in a favorable environment.
The wave around 40W is interesting as is the one south of the Cape Verde Islands although the Cape Verde season is about to come to a close as SST's fall below the magical "80" mark. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, as our correspondent in Tortola mentioned today; WE DO NEED THE RAIN!!!!
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