The Caribbean Hurricane Page
Updates from the Islands
What is going on now?
Archive of weather discussions and eye witness reports from the Caribbean Islands in the 1999 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.
|Local Updates per Island:|
|- - - Floyd through Lenny - - -|
|Floyd through Irene has moved to this page|
|Jose through Lenny can now be found on this page|
|- - - Emily - - -|
[Fri, 27 August 1999 11:15 EDT] - Moving away
The tropical depression is moving north, away from the islands. It is not expected to strengthen much in the next 3 days. Good!
[Thu, 26 August 1999 17:10 EDT] - Yes, yes, YES!
Great news! Emily has further weakened and has been downgraded to a tropical depression. Winds are only 35 mph now. It is expected to further weaken. The threat to the islands is gone!!!
[Thu, 26 August 1999 11:40 EDT] - Further weakened!
We can breathe a little easier. Just two days ago Emily was all of a sudden sitting there just off the islands as a strong tropical storm. This morning, minimum central pressure is up, and winds are down, due to shearing by the outflow patterns of both Dennis and Cindy. Emily is barely a tropical storm now. Forecasted tracks have been changing somewhat over the last day. Yesterday afternoon it looked like Emily might pass right over the NE islands, right now, it is expected to pass to the (north)east of them. Since Emily is such a small storm the islands are not under a big threat anymore, if they ever were, since all the time it looked like that by the time is would reach the island, Emily would barely be a hurricane. However, the system is close to the islands so close attention is necessary. You never know for sure. Keep up to date with what is happening by checking out the local reports by our special hurricane correspondents (see above).
[Wed, 25 August 1999 11:15 EDT] - Still weak
Thanks to Cindy, Emily has not strengthened any further. It's forecasted track is still quite uncertain. It will be a close call if Emily will make landfall in the NE islands or pass east of them. If it hits it might still be a tropical storm. So things are not looking too bad, especially if you look how active the tropicas are right now.
[Tue, 24 August 1999 23:10 EDT] - Emily?
What happened? Emily seems to have almost disappeared on the latest satellite images. Six hours ago maximum sustained winds were estimated at 65mph, now winds are only 45mph! The weakening may be due to the outflow Cindy. Good news, but not out of the woods yet!
Currently Cindy is moving northward, but is expected to move more to the northwest later on. This means that it is heading towards the northeastern Windward islands. Models don't really agree. Some let Emily pass westerly of the islands at a safe distance (which we hope), other models forecast landfall somewhere in the NE in about 3 days with winds up to 75 mph (barely hurricane-strength)... In any case, things are not looking as bad as this afternoon.
[Tue, 24 August 1999 15:30 EDT] - Emily
A busy afternoon, 2 tropical storms formed within a couple of hours... Hurricane Hunters investigating the area of disturbed weather southeast of Barbados (=outside the 'hurricane belt') have found a well defined circulation plus winds up to 65 mph. So here we have our 5th named storm of the season... More later as full advisories come in. The center was found at: 11.7 N; 53.9 W (about 390 miles from Barbados), minimum central pressure: 1004 mbar.
|- - - Dennis - - -|
Read the local updates from the Bahamas by our Special Hurricane Correspondents
Map of the Bahamas (from Excite Maps)
[Tue, 31 August 1999 10:40 EDT] - Bahamas Update
Last night we received an update from our Abaco Girl. They are doing ok on the island! Read her report.
[Mon, 30 August 1999 10:45 EDT] - Lucky?
Dennis' eye passed just east of Abaco Island. We are waiting to receive an update from our Abaco Girl, Cheryl... Damage reported has been mostly uprooted trees and loss of power. No injuries have been reported as far as I know. Flights to the Bahamas have resumed. So not too bad at all.
Looks like, so far, the US has lucked out as well. The eye of Dennis (with the highest winds around it) might stay off-shore.
[Fri, 27 August 1999 11:20 EDT] - NW Bahamas, here it comes...
The latest report show that Dennis will pass over the Northwestern Bahamas; the Abacos and Grand Bahama, tonight. Dennis has strengthened somewhat. Winds are near 80 mph. The good news is that Dennis is still a 'minimal' hurricane, so not much damage is expected. Some more slow strengthening is expected, but the islands should be able to handle this kind of storm. The bad thing is that Dennis is not moving too much, so the period the islands will endure tropical storm/hurricane force winds will be long.
As for the US... though more or less out of the scope of The Caribbean Hurricane Page... the latest advisories show that Dennis will strengthen to a possible Cat-3 storm before it makes landfall. Where? The official forecasts places it on the coast of S.Carolina in 3 days. However, it is very hard to say. En route north Dennis will follow the Florida coastline pretty close. If Dennis takes a path a little more to the west than expected, Florida and Georgia can be in trouble as well. So, as always, prepare for the worst, hope for the best... Check out our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Navigator for the latest advisories, tracks and saltellite images. Local updates straight from the Bahamas by our special hurricane correspondents can be found above. Cheryl, our Abaco Girl, reported at 7AM that winds were picking up.
[Thu, 26 August 1999 17:10 EDT] - Come on, move!
Dennis is just sitting there. For the rest not much news. It hasn't strengthened, probably partially due to the fact that it is not moving, and mixing up the waters below it, thereby upwelling deeper colder water. Our friends on the Caicos islands are getting a lot of rain. I am expecting an update from them soon. The NHC center think that Dennis will start moving nort-northwest soon.
[Thu, 26 August 1999 11:30 EDT] - Hurricane warning for the Bahamas
Dennis has strengthened into a hurricane. Maximum sustained winds are now near 75mph. It is still not very organized, preventing it to strengthen more rapidly. The storm will pass very close by the Bahamas. Right now it is 'just' a minimal hurricane, minor damage can be expected. However, Dennis is a slow mover, and will slowly strengthen over time so it might become a Cat-2 hurricane while passing close by the Bahamas. Right now it looks like the eye (where the hightest winds are) will stay clear from the islands, but it is a close call. In any case, it is always better to be prepared for the worst. If you are wondering what kind of damage a Cat-2 hurricane can do, see our Practical Guide.
[Wed, 25 August 1999 11:15 EDT] - A little bit to the north please
Dennis is strengthening slower than expected, winds are still 'only' 45mph. Good! Though it is forecasted to become a hurricane within 36 hours or so... Right now it isn't moving much, but it is expected to move slowly to the west-northwest. Despite the tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches for the Bahamas I don't foresee much problems for now.
[Tue, 24 August 1999 23:00 EDT] - Still disorganized
Dennis is still not very organized, the circulation remains broad and ill-defined. Although the forecast is that Dennis is still going to strengthen (maybe to a 'moderate' Cat-2 hurricane in 72 hours), it should stay clear of the Bahamas. However, I never trust tropical systems over these high seawater temperatures, so please keep close attention. Other than some rain no ill effects were reported on the Turks and Caicos islands (see local report above).
Although not in the scope of this website, where will it make landfall in the US, if at all...? Looking at the forecast most likely seems to be S.Carolina, however the trough forming the eastern US might keep it out at sea...
[Tue, 24 August 1999 14:30 EDT] - Dennis
Hurricane Hunters investigating TD#5 reported maximum (estimated) surface winds of 50 knot, so the tropical depression has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Dennis.
[Tue, 24 August 1999 11:10 EDT] - Still 'just' a depression
TD#5 fortunately cannot get his act together, it is still not very organized. However, warm seawwater temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions might cause this system to strengthen rapidly once it gets somewhat more organized. Forecasted track still steers it just north of the Turks&Caicos and Bahamas. However, winds could already be as high as 60 mph by the time is passes the Bahamas, not a big storm, but still, we have to keep a close eye on it.
[Mon, 23 August 1999 22:40 EDT] - Tropical Depression #5
This afternoon hurricane hunters investigated the tropical wave north of Puerto Rico (see below) but couldn't find a center of low pressure. However, tonight it looked better organized on satellite images and therefore this system has been upgraded to Tropical Depression #5. Although it hasn't reached tropical storm status yet, people on the Turks & Caicos and the Bahamas should keep a close eye on this system. Hopefully is had passed the islands already before it has strengthened too much. The current forecast is that it will pass just north of these islands.
|- - - Cindy - - -|
[Fri, 27 August 1999 11:10 EDT] - Strengthening but no threat
This morning satellite images show that Cindy has formed an eye, indicating that it has strengthened. Winds are now estimated to be near 105 mph (almost a Category 2 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simson scale). Right now it looks like it will pass on a safe distance of Bermuda. Strike probabilities are only 4%. Local updates from Bermuda can be found above.
[Thu, 26 August 1999 11:20 EDT] - Missing the Caribbean
Cindy has strengthened is is now a hurricane again. Luckily it doesn't pose a threat to the Caribbean anymore. Cindy is moving towards the northwest with 75mph winds. Right now it is expected that Cindy will move east of Bermuda as well, but it is still to early to be sure about that. Keep up to date with what is happening on Bermuda by checking out the local reports by our special hurricane correspondents..
[Wed, 25 August 1999 11:10 EDT] - Still a tropical storm
Not much has changed since yesterday. Cindy hasn't strengthened despite the favorable conditions. It's forecasted track still indicates a complete miss for the islands. Ironically, this storm may be a blessing for the northeastern islands since it is preventing Emily to strengthen much and steer it away from the islands.
[Tue, 24 August 1999 23:55 EDT] - Looking better...
Although Cindy is still expected to strengthen (maybe to a Cat-2 Hurricane in 72 hours), the system is moving to the north more and more. All models are in pretty good agreement that it will stay clear of the islands (see: http://www.arl.noaa.gov/ready-bin/plotmdl1.pl?Filen=04).
[Tue, 24 August 1999 11:20 EDT] - Still moving west-northwest
Not much new with Cindy. This system is not very organized, the center might even be outside the area of deep convection. Later on warmer seawater temperatures and more favorable atmospheric conditions will restrengthen Cindy into a hurricane though. As it looks right now Cindy will still bypass the islands, and hopefully will even stay out at sea completely so that it won't pose a threat to the US coast either.
[Mon, 23 August 1999 11:10 EDT] - Looking better!
Yesterday Texas 'lucked' out by having the compact but powerful hurricane Bret make landfall just between two populated areas (though flooding will be a factor), today things are looking better for the eastern islands as well. On Sunday Cindy was already downgraded to a tropical storm, due to the shearing 'from the back', and doesn't look that impressive anymore (if it ever did). Maximum winds are still near 60 mph, but little strengthening is expected for the next 2 days or so. Best of all is that Cindy has started moving a little more northward, and the different models runs are very close in predicting a continued west-northwest motion. This means that even if Cindy will restrengthen into a hurricane, right now it seems very likely that it will pass north of the islands.
On a side note, there is this strong tropical wave north of Puerto Rico which looks very suspect. With the high seasurface temperatures in that area it has the potential to develop into something bad quite quickly. The Bahamas should keep a close eye on this system! See also one of our local reports from St.Croix.
[Sun, 22 August 1999 11:05 EDT] - Still moving west...
Well, it's looking a little different now. Earlier it was almost a 'sure' thing that Cindy would be picked up northwards by a trough and would pose no threat to the Caribbean islands. Now this scenario seems somewhat less likely. The good thing is that Cindy is under some shearing (prohibiting further strengthening for the time being), however, different model runs show different tracks, some northward (away from the islands) others keep Cindy on a westward (or even a little southwest) track. See: http://www.arl.noaa.gov/ready-bin/plotgfdl.pl?Filen=04 and http://www.arl.noaa.gov/ready-bin/plotmdl1.pl?Filen=04
In short: Cindy is a poorly organized system, barely a hurricane, with 75 mph winds, moving westward for the time being at 7 mph. Cindy is more than 1500 miles east of the islands, so there is enough time to see how this system develops.
[Fri, 20 August 1999 16:55 EDT] - Cindy
Despite that the system in the far eastern Atlantic doesn't look really healthy, TD#4 has been upgraded to tropical storm Cindy. Slow strengthening is expected. The system is still moving westward. Forecast is still that Cindy will be picked up by a troff in a couple of days, which will take it quickly on a more northernly path. The different models don't really agree on the exact timing however, but I still expect Cindy to stay a safe distance to the north of the islands.
[Thu, 19 August 1999 20:20 EDT] - First Tropical Depression forms in the Atlantic
Unfortunately it looks like the inevitable is starting; things are heating up in the tropical Atlantic. Last night the tropical wave in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde islands, has become better organized and was upgraded to tropical depression #4. It does not look very impressive and since water temperatures are still quite low this system is expected to strengthen just a little bit.
How does it look for the islands? It is still very far away so there is enought time to see how this system develops. Initial forecasts show however that current the westward motion will have a much stronger northern component in a couple of days, so it looks like it will pass north of the islands. So far, so good.
|- - - Bret - - -|
[Sat, 21 August 1999 12:00 EDT] - Hurricane Bret
Well, Bret has surprised us a little bit. Since it stayed longer out at sea the warm seawater temperatures made it possible for this system to strengthen significantly. The latest forecast shows that the center of this hurricane will make landfall on the Mexico/Texas border with 105 kt winds!
Since this website is mostly focussed on the Caribbean, I will not pay too much more attention on this one (the Caribbean islands are looking at Cindy at the moment...). The latest advisories, strike probabilities, forecasted tracks and satellite images can be found on our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator. Other good websites which cover the US are: Central Atlantic Storm Investigators, HurricaneCity and Storm99.
[Thu, 19 August 1999 20:15 EDT] - Tropical Storm Bret forms
This afternoon tropical depression #3 located in the Bay of Campeche was upgraded to tropical strom Bret. On satellite pictures it doesn't look very impressive. It is expected to strengthen a little more before it will make landfall in Mexico in about 2 days.
[Fri, 6 August 1999 11:45 EDT] - Hurricane Forecast Update
Today Dr.Gray and his research group at Colorado State University issued the (final) early August update of their hurricane forecast. Despite a slow start of this season no change in predicted hurricane activity for this season. More details can be found below (June 4 and esp. May 24 updates) and the full report and press release can be found on the CSU website.
|- - - T.D. #2 - - -|
[Sat, 3 July, 1999 13:30 EDT] - Tropical Depression 2
It has been quiet for awhile (just keep it this way), but to be complete, yesterday afternoon a tropical depression has formed close to the coast of Mexico, between Vera and Tampico, in the Bay of Campeche. It moved inland overnight and disspated. The only effects of this system will be the heavy rainfall.
|- - - Arlene - - -|
[Thu, 17 June 1999 10:55 EDT] - Gone!
Arlene has almost dissapated. It moved more easternly of Bermuda and weakened faster than expected, so Bermuda was 'spared' (though it was never a dangerous threat anyway). Norm Nelson wrote on the BBSR Weather Page that winds were '(n)ot even strong enough to blow over the mop I left on the front porch', and Anne Kermode reports that Bermuda did not even receive the much needed rain (see her full report).
[Wed, 16 June 1999 11:15 EDT] - Getting closer
It's looking a little better for Bermuda. Arlene is weakening somewhat due to some shearing. Also, it has a little bit more northward movement than forecasted, so it looks like Arlene will pass east of Bermuda. Probably just close enough that the island will feel tropical storm force winds. The associated rain might give a bigger headache than the winds itself. Be sure to check out the local reports from the special hurricane correspondents on Bermuda as well (see above).
For the rest not much going on. No new tropical storms expected soon.
[Tue, 15 June 1999 11:05 EDT] - Bermuda - 32:22:01N 64:40:59W
Hmmmm, yesterday I didn't think too much about Arlene. Today is a little different; it's center will pass much closer to Bermuda then I expected. Different forecast models show that Arlene will pass either over, to the east or to the west of Bermuda! Apparently it is quite hard to predict it's path, esp. since Arlene has hardly moved over the last several hours. Winds have gone up a little bit to 50 mph winds, but Arlene is still 'just' a tropical storm. It is by no means, nor will be a destructive hurricane. Also, if you have ever been to Bermuda, you will know that most houses (incl. the roofs) are build of solid concrete. They really are hurricane-proof. Even if Arlene passes right over Bermuda don't expect too much structural damage, maybe some utility poles, but in general the island should be fine. It would be best if Arlene passes to the east of the island, since the highest winds are located to the east of the center of the storm. Probability that Arlenes's center will pass within 74 miles from Bermuda is 21%, probably late tomarrow, early Thrusday. Again, for more Bermuda weather info visit the Bermuda Biological Station website or the Royal Gazette Newspaper Headlines.
[Mon, 14 June 1999 10:45 EDT] - Bermuda
Arlene is still surviving in the Atlantic. It is still not very strong, 'just' a tropical storm. Although I think chances are pretty slim that Arlene will make landfall on Bermuda or will strengthen much (water temperatures are quite low, and a front is approaching), residents on the island still have to keep a close eye on it. The National Hurricane Center actually upped the probablility that the center of Arlene will pass within 65 nm from Bermuda to 20%. A tropical storm watch has actually been issued for Bermuda. A good source of Bermuda specific information is presented by my friends at the Bermuda Biological Station (select the Tropical Weather link).
[Fri, 12 June 1999 12:10 EDT] - Arlene
The tropical depression has become better organized and has been upgraded to tropical storm Arlene. It's far out in the Atlantic, way north of the Caribbean, and it is not expected to affect any land (or Bermuda). Wish they were all like this.
[Fri, 11 June 1999 17:05 EDT] - The first one
An area with disturbed weather 540 miles southeast of Bermuda has been 'upgrade' to tropical depression status. Once it becomes better organized it might be upgraded to our first named tropical storm Arlene. At this point it does not and will not pose a threat to any land.
[Fri, 4 June 1999] - Gray's forecast unchanged
Today Dr. Gray (Colorado State U.) issued an updated forecast of hurricane activity. Unfortunately the number of storms remain unchanged; it is expected to be an active season, though not as active as 1995.
Their usual more 'US' focused forecast now included for the first time landfall probabilities for the Caribbean and Mexico. Bad for the Eastern Caribbean islands is that their analysis indicate more lower latitude storms, so tropical systems might form more to the south in the Atlantic, decreasing the chances that they turn far enough north on their westerly track to pass north of the islands.
In numbers: they forecast a 86% probability that the center of one or more hurricanes will pass through the northern Caribbean (the area from Cuba and the Bahamas in the west to the BVI in the east). In an average season the probability is 64%. For the Eastern Caribbean (the area from Anguilla/St.Martin in the north, all the way south to the island of Grenada) the probability is 47% (29% average season). The probabilities for the (south)western Caribbean and the Mexican coast are 41 and 56% resp. (19 and 28% average). Of these hurricanes an average of 38% are category 3 and up (major) hurricanes.
Keep in mind that these areas are quite large. It doesn't mean that say Tortola has an 86% chance of being hit by a hurricane. In any case, it does not look too good, but we will get through it again as long as we are well prepared. More detail can be found on the Colorado State University website and below.
[Mon, 1 June 1999] - Atlantic Hurricane Season has started
It's June 1, officially the first day of the 1999 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Usually there is not much action in the first two months. Things will be heating up by Mid August. Let's hope for a quiet season. Further down you can find a discussion of what we might expect this year. Check below if your name is one of the players this year. This is a 6 year rotating list of names. Names of severe storms are usually 'retired', like Mitch, Georges, Andrew... There were no exceptional hurricanes 6 years ago, so this is the same list as for 1993.
HERE ARE THE NAMES FOR THE 1999 TROPICAL STORMS AN HURRICANES: NAME PRONUNCIATION NAME PRONUNCIATION ---- ------------- ---- ------------- ARLENE LENNY BRET MARIA MA-REE-AH CINDY NATE DENNIS OPHELIA O-FEEL-YA EMILY PHILIPPE FE-LEEP FLOYD RITA GERT STAN HARVEY TAMMY IRENE VINCE JOSE HO-ZAY WILMA KATRINA KA-TREE-NA
[Mon, 24 May 1999] - What will 1999 bring us?
Officially the Atlantic Hurricane Season starts in a couple of days and will last until November 30. The peak of the Caribbean hurricane season is from August 20 to about September 15, before and after these dates chances are much smaller (but it is not impossible of course) that a tropical system will make landfall on one of the Caribbean Islands.
A research team at the Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, headed by Dr. Gray have issued for a number of years forecasts of hurricane activity. These forecasts are getting more refined every year and are now based on statistical analyses of 13 global (meteorological and oceanographic) predictors, each of them indicating a tendency for higher or lower hurricane activity. See their website for a more in depth discussion.
The forecast for this year does not look too good. Of the 13 global predictors 8 indicate an above average season and 5 below. One of the predictors is the direction of atmospheric (upper level) winds. For this year they are expected to be more westerly (i.e., the same general direction as lower level winds). This normally causes an increase in hurricane activity, and also enhances the formation of stronger hurricanes. Another predictor is the amount of rainfall in the western Sahel (Africa). During wet years it was found that hurricane activity is statistically higher, low rainfall suppresses hurricane activity. Rainfall for this year is a little above average. Another factor is El Nino, which can decrease hurricane activity, El Nina on the other hand enhances it. Currently the waters off South America are in a 'cool' state (El Nina). Another meteorological predictor which can be used to predict hurricane activity is the surface pressure of the Azores High. The lower pressure measured in March statistically indicates a higher hurricane activity. Finally, warmer sea surface water temperatures in the Atlantic increases hurricane activity, right now they are about average. Again, for more detail see the Colorado State U. website.
Taking into account the above factors and some other criteria they conclude that this year we might expect a total of 14 named storms, of which 9 will develop in to a hurricane, 4 of these will be an intense hurricane (Category 3 and higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale). Overall tropical cyclone activity will be 60% higher than average. Bad for the Caribbean is that Gray and his team also think that in 1999 a larger percentage of the cyclones will form from African waves (i.e., the ones usually heading for the islands) and less in the sub-tropics (say, Gulf of Mexico).
Gray et al. also looked at 'analog' years, these are years where meteorological/oceanographic conditions were similar to this year. They found that in 1950, 1955 and 1961 conditions were similar to this year. Interesting to see would be how those years affected the Caribbean:
If this season will be similar to these we should not complain. Despite the relatively high activity few tropical cyclones actually affected the Caribbean Islands. Although 1 hurricane making landfall is already too much, as long as it isn't a Category 4 or 5 the islands will manage.
Keep in mind that these forecasts are based on statistical models. It is more complicated than forecasting say tomorrow's weather. Also, they do not predict the path of tropical cyclones, they might very well all stay out at sea! Updates on Gray's forecasts will be published June 4 and August 6. On another note, one of my hurricane correspondents wrote me that on Guadaloupe they say that if the trees have a lot of flowers in the springtime which produce a lot of fruit there will be a lot of hurricanese. And guess what! The trees have a lot of flowers and fruit. We have to wait and see what happens. The moral of this story: Hope for the best and prepare for the worst...
[Fri, 04 Dec 1998 14:30EST] - First 1999 forecast is in
Dr. Gray and his team at Colorado State University issued their first forecast for the 1999 Atlantic Hurricane Season. They underestimated this year's activity, hopefully he is not doing the same for next year, because it looks like another very bad season... Like we had in 1998 14 named storms are forecasted. Long term average is 9.2, which I like much more. The tally is:
GRAY RESEARCH TEAM HURRICANE FORECAST FOR 1999 SEASON Initial December Forecast Named Storms (9.3)* 14 Named Storm Days (46.9) 65 Hurricanes (5.8) 9 Hurricane Days (23.7) 40 Intense Hurricanes (2.2) 4 Intense Hurricane Days (4.7) 10 Hurricane Destruction Potential (70.6) 130 Maximum Potential Destruction (61.7) 130 Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (100%) 160 * Number in ( ) represents average year totals based on 1950-1990 data . ** Hurricane Destruction Potential measures a hurricane's potential for wind- and ocean-surge damage. Tropical Storm, Hurricane and Intense Hurricane Days are four, six-hour periods where storms attain wind speeds appropriate to their category on the Saffir-Simpson scale.Especially the 4 intense hurricane (Cat-3 and higher) worries me. We will see what happens, just hope that they all pass nicely north of the islands. Next year's hurricane names can be found in my practical guide. Hopefully Hurricane Gert won't be the big one (and who decided Gert to be a girl's name anyway)! More in depth discussion later. Read the full forecast on the Colorado State Website.
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