The Hurricane Page
|- - - Georges - - -|
Well, Georges was it for this year, I hope. Over 200,000 visitors to my website and over 1,400 e-mail messages in my 'inbox', and not much sleep, all in one week... Thanks to the Central Atlantic Storm Investigators for sharing bandwidth, otherwise I couldn't even have kept this website up! Apparently our website was noted by many in the media. I've had interviews on BBC Radio, newspapers (incl. USA Today) and some TV stations have contacted me. Even Reuters News Service took quotes from my website. One of the places where it is still on-line is at Yahoo. My hurricane correspondents on the islands have done a superb job!! A few were even able to send me an e-mail message or called in a report during the hurricane! They also have been overwhelmed with e-mail messages and media interest. Some have received over three hundred messages with "Thank you's", "Hang in there's" and "Pleas for help"!
Read all about how the islands fared during and after Georges on the special Georges pages. If you really need to know how someone on a 'small' island feels when a deadly hurricane is approaching, read the updates, facts, personal stories, etc. covering Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico (incl. Vieques and Culebra), Saba and St.Eustatius, St.Barths, St.Croix, St.John, St.Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat, St.Lucia, St.Maarten/St.Martin , St.Thomas, Tortola and Virgin Gorda (BVI) and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
The updates below were acquired before Georges made landfall. Reports below are in reverse chronological order. It is easier to start at the bottom and work your way up. The reports from the islands when Georges made landfall plus the aftermath can be found on the Georges 'main' page.
September 21 14:05EDT - Losing strength but still very dangerous
An airforce hurricane hunter plane investigated Georges and found that the eye is currently about 150 miles east of Guadaloupe. Remember that the 'grunt' of the storm is to the NORTH of the center. Antigua, Barbuda, St.Maarten, St.Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and Guadaloupe are all in the path of the most dangerous winds. More:
REPEATING THE 2 PM AST POSITION...16.4 N... 59.2 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 16 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...135 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 949 MB. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 85 MILES...140 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 175 MILES...280 KM. DAMAGING WIND GUSTS OVER ELEVATED TERRAIN ARE POSSIBLE EVEN OUTSIDE OF THE CORE OF THE HURRICANE.
September 21 11:19EDT - Be worried...
REPEATING THE 11 AM AST POSITION...16.3 N... 58.5 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 16 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...150 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 939 MB.
Hurricane force winds extend to upto 80 miles from the center. The three day forecast is as follows:
INITIAL 20/1500Z 16.3N 58.5W 130 KTS 12HR VT 21/0000Z 16.8N 60.7W 130 KTS 150MPH 24HR VT 21/1200Z 17.5N 63.5W 130 KTS 150MPH 36HR VT 22/0000Z 18.3N 66.0W 120 KTS 140MPH 48HR VT 22/1200Z 19.0N 68.0W 120 KTS 140MPH 72HR VT 23/1200Z 20.5N 72.0W 110 KTS 127MPH
Georges is currently about 195 miles east of the islands. Moving at 16 mph, means that it will take approx. 12 hours before the eye makes landfall. However, tropical storm force winds are already felt in some of the islands. We will try to keep posting updates from the islands on these pages. However, it all depends for how long my hurricane correspondents keep power, phone, and get thru on the internet.
September 21 9:22EDT - Overwhelmed...
We are getting too many hits on our website and exceding our daily allotment set by our ISP. This will cause parts of it to close down from time to time. We are trying with some tricks and bandwidth sharing to keep it up. Sorry for the inconvenience.
September 20 01:05EDT - Where oh where...
Well, we now all know that Georges is an extremely strong hurricane, and still strengthening. Maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (a strong Cat-4 Hurricane)! Minimum central pressure is 939 mbar. Over the last 3 hours Georges has wobbled westward. The National Hurricane Center has indeed at 5pm moved it's forecasted track way north. The latest advisories show a slow correction to the south. So, as it looks right now, Guadaloupe is off the hook (I mean they probably won't see the eye with 150 mph winds!). Now it is forecasted that the eye will move just south of Antigua, moving on to brush north of Montserrat (just what they need!), going just south of Nevis and on to God knows where...
Again, this is a very strong and dangerous hurricane. Luis or Hugo size! It is really hard to say where the eye will make landfall. This is very important since the highest winds are at the eyewall, just 20 miles away from the wall makes a world of difference in destruction... A little wobble to the north or south, and it will hit another island... This is also a big hurricane. Hurricane force winds (64 kt/74mph) winds extend to up to 115 miles to the north. The windfield is also not as symmetrical. The highest winds are to the NORTH of the eye. To be more exact, in 24 hours, the time at which Georges makes landfall, the windfield looks as follows:
FORECAST VALID 21/0000Z 16.8N 61.6W MAX WIND 130 KT...GUSTS 165 KT 64 KT...100NE 40SE 40SW 100NW 50 KT...125NE 100SE 75SW 125NW 34 KT...175NE 150SE 125SW 175NW
Note that the numbers are in nautical miles and knots. Multiply by 1.15 to get miles and mph. See also previous explanations below.
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 16:40EDT] - John Dovale, (Visit megatropic.com's weather page), reporting from St.Maarten:
It is Sat Sept 19 4:25 PM and things are heating up around here. People are well into preparedness mode. Major business has closed early and has prepared by securing their facilities. Signs have been removed in areas where they would become hazards. In actuality the business community is on top of things and have prepared themselves quickly. Many homes since luis have incorporated built in shutters so for many it is just a matter of a last minute effort to secure them. Radio stations are already broadcasting shelter information and this year all prepardness information is being broadcast in multiple languages. So far I have heard it in ENGLISH. SPANISH, PAPIAMENTU, DUTCH and FRENCH. This is definitely an improved effort. The government EOC is already staffed and ready and they have already laid plans for curfews and other security measures. Warnings have already gone out to the population to move to higher ground in areas where flooding is expected. The government has already indicated that they expect the storm to come very close to the island - and since it will be to the south (meaning we will get the northern quadrant of the storm) they are bracing for the worste case. I have been told unofficially that they are expecting this storm to be another LUIS or very close to this. An IDL Internet team is prepared to dispatch to the EOC later to assist them in implementing a wireless internet connection in order to continue getting updates on the weather through our online storm center and other disaster management resources. It looks in general that the Dutch side is prepared. I have not spoken to my French counterpart Mr Roy Richardson but i will get an update from him within a few hours
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 16:16EDT] - Henry Martinez reporting from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico:
I think that the forecast track of Hurricane George isn't realistic. I think and many people here in Puerto Rico that this hurricane will pass far way to the north of the island. So many people are very relax now... but if this situation change (could be Monday), i will inform you about local preparation. Although wath may be emitted tonigh, i dont expect hurricane weather in this region..
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 15:00EDT] - Liane Le Tendre, All-In-One BVI Vacations, reporting from Tortola, BVI:
Thanks for the well wishes. I have to say that I am more than just a little concerned. My landlord "still" hasn't started to board up the place and Georges seems pretty ominous. Not looking forward to the ride! Marilyn, Louis and Bertha were more than enough excitement. If he decides he's not going to board up, I'm going to bail, take my dog and go stay with friends in Cane Garden Bay. Our one consolation is that the Department of Disaster Preparedness have done a very good job educating the public in hurricane procedures and the government is just about the best in the Caribbean in getting the roads cleared and everything cleaned up in no time. They are very efficient! We're very fortunate in that department, unlike some of our neighbouring islands. I'll stay in touch as long as possible. I am certain that my body isn't lying to me. Something "big and bad" is heading this way. Its odd, because its a beautiful sunny day here in Paradise. In fact its almost perfect ... except for the aches and pains!
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 15:00EDT] - Frank Capers reporting from Marigot Bay, St.Lucia:
With the exception of Barbados, St. Lucia is the closest to Georges at the moment as he is on our latitude. Hopefully that means he will pass well north of us. Beautiful day at the moment with brisk northeasterlies. Last nights local TV weather broadcast did not say that Georger was a direct threat to us and I am not aware of much preparation except for marine interests. Many of the locate charter boats, as well as a few private yachts, are arriving here in Marigot Bay and securing. Our local "GEM radio" is now forecasting 270 degree movement and hurricane force gusts as far south as Grenada so we are battening down the hatches.
2PM EDT Intermediate Update:
REPEATING THE 2 PM AST POSITION...15.4 N... 53.5 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 18 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...125 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 949 MB.
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 12:37EDT] - John Dungan reporting from St.Thomas:
The residents of St.Thomas Virgin Islands are ready for anything right now, we all have stocked up and are patiently waiting for the storm to pass or hit. right now the island is very calm and preperations are in full effect, the adverse weather conditions here right now is very hot, think we might get a direct hit or close enough to make it feel as a direct hit. All stores are doing a brisk business right now, almost all houses have started to board up windows and making preparations to move to safer locations.
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 12:37EDT] - Bruno Benjamin (webmaster of ouragans.com) reporting from Guadaloupe:
It seams Guadeloupe is the target for Mr Georges. At this time most pessimistic forecasts show He will hit the capital of the Island (16.0 61.5) tomorrow by 8 PM. We may be on hurricane warning later today, so I won't be allowed lo move around in the island and take nice pictures, but be sure I'll try to do so on monday morning. I should not be working as the airport will be ckose tonight (certainly after the last Paris-bound flight at 6 PM). Here the population is unquiet but government officials never told anyone (except "well-informed" people) we are in serious danger. Local weather reps say Georges is still a category 2 hurricane. I am still waiting for their next message. All shops and stores are crowdy as in 1989 for Hugo. Unfortunately the port is unable to provide necessary items as workers are on strike since nearly two months. I am planning to live Georges passage in the closet (the safest room in my flat) of course with my PC. My updates will be done from there after 4 PM tomorrow.
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 12:29EDT] - John Dovale, (Visit megatropic.com's weather page), reporting from St.Maarten:
It appears that throughout the evening GEORGES took a turn towards our area. This did not come as much surprise to us here as we were fairly certain this would happen. It seems we were not alone. By 10 AM this morning the streets were bustling with motorist visiting local food and hardware stores to get their last minute supplies. Many businesses have already secured their building and others are well underway to ensure they are all battened down and ready for the fury of GEORGES. The general attitude here is positive, but there are some people who are a little nervous because there is not much in the way of OFFICIAL INFORMATION coming from the authorities. Many students of the American Medical School who just arrived on island have never experienced a hurricane and they are a little nervous. I believe by later today we will see the frenzy of preparedness actually hit home when people try to do last minute shopping - already traffic is hectic, this will only intensify. It is the general opinion of many people that the storm will become a cat 4 before it gets to u(SXM). This may very well be true condsidering the present pattern of strengthening and the relative low central pressure. Needless to say GEORGES is an unpredictable storm at this point as far as we are concerned. My estimate is that it will pass about 30 miles south of us and we will see some 100 mile winds We are in the midst of prepping our facility for the storm, so I will have to get back with further updates at a later time. As always IDL will attempt to keep our INTERNET services running as long as possible.
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 12:02EDT] - Antonio Joyette reporting from St.Vincent and Grenadines:
We here are anticipating at least Tropical storm force winds. Gorges seem to be tracking West with a slight tint of North. I know that high pressure/ Mid-trophosperic feature to the North plays a major role. But we are prepared. Yesterday the National Disaster Emergency Committee met and we discussed preparedness of each department and unit. I am pleased to report that all are well armed for the eventuality. Outside that we are pretty much ready at the National level. Right now we are watching and offering advise to that effect. We are also watching and anticipating unusually high seas to persist from later today through Tuesday, Wednesday. Outside that we are waiting Gorges next move.
September 19 11:50DT - Be prepared (yes, you too in the NE!)
Hurricane watches have now also been issued for the British and US Virgin Islands. A large area is now under hurricane watch, because (1) it is a big storm and (2) because the National Hurricane Center is not too confident in its own forecasted track anymore. People in the NE Caribbean (Anguilla, St.Maarten, Antigua, etc.) should be prepared for the worst. I don't want to be a doomsayer but some models take Georges even a little north of you! If the truth lies somewhere in the middle you are in big trouble!!! So don't look at the 3 day forecast issued by the National Hurricane Center and think: "Ah, no problem, it will make landfall in southern Guadaloupe. Pretty far south of us". It might come closer than you think! Again, be prepared for the worst.
OK, having this from my chest, let's see when and what. Maximum sustained winds are now near 125 mph. Minimum central pressure has plummeted to 948 mbar. Georges is moving a little slower at 18 mph, and will probably reach the islands in about 36 hours. Maximum sustained winds are then expected to be near 140 mph! This is similar to Luis (1995) and Hugo (1989) at the time they reached the islands. The 'good' thing about Georges is, is that it is moving much faster than Luis, so it will be over faster...
How far is still bad? Georges is very symmetrical hurricane. There is no 'grunt to the east', or something like that. Winds extend into similar directions from the center. The marine advisory reports that in 36 hours the windfield looks as follows:
FORECAST VALID 21/0000Z 16.0N 61.5W MAX WIND 120 KT...GUSTS 145 KT 64 KT... 40NE 40SE 40SW 40NW 50 KT... 90NE 90SE 90SW 90NW 34 KT...180NE 120SE 120SW 180NW
First note that distances are in nautical miles and windspeed in knots (1 nm = 1.15 m; 1 kt = 1 nm per hour). So in 36 hours maximum sustained winds are 120 kt (140 mph), with gust up to 168 mph). This is a Category 4 hurricane (Cat-5 starts at 155 mph). Hurricane force winds (64 kt) extend to up to 40 nm (45 miles) out of the center of the eye, tropical force (34 kt) up to 180 nm (205 miles) to the northwest and northeast of the center. A quick back on the envelope calculation: 180 nm (tropical storm winds region) = 3*60 nm = 3 degrees latitude. So 16.0N plus 3 = 19.0N. Anguilla (the most northernly island) is located at 18.2N, 63W, so well within reach of tropical storm force winds...
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 11:03EDT] - Steve McCabe reporting from Dominica:
Roseau, Dominica, 11 AM. The latest advisory shows Georges strengthening and maintaining its course towards our island. In the capital, business in the supermarkets is brisk and the roads are busy. The national Disaster Preparedness Committee met yesterday and started the process of moving essential equipment around the island which would be used in any post-hurricane clean-up) and meet this morning after the 11am advisory to discuss it's implications. The current weather conditions continue fine and sunny with few clouds!
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 10:36EDT] - John Fuller reporting from Antigua:
@ 1020am wind has now shifted to n.e. and the show begins.beautiful day-winds 8-15 mph.as usual the problem boats are the coastal traders --too big for the safe anchorages and too small to run south in a hurry. they will do the damage when they get loose.everyone is calm and assiduosly going about preparing,tree branches being lopped , shuttering, double fixing roofing.looks like the Saintes will get hit hard and the s.w. coast of guadeloupe where the capital is located.a very beautiful part of the carib.also the west coast of Dominica and they surely don't need it they are still feeling David from 1979.it was devastating.its been v. hazy here for a week or two but now its clear and fresh.guadeloupe, montserrat,nevis and st.kitts are all in plain view,with the usual mushroom of cloud over the volcano on montserrat.last sunday we had @ 3pm an earthquake directly under us-sowe've got a little of everything---it's all HAPPENING.
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 08:09EDT] - Rafael Buxeda Díaz reporting from Puerto Rico:
The 1200Z forecast places Georges at 14.60 N, 52.00 W, with tropical force winds extending 200 miles. It has been upgraded to a Category III hurricane with 115 mph winds. If this position is correct, and tropical force winds DO in effect extend 200 miles from the center, tropical force winds will brush Puerto Rico's southern coast. My supermarket raid revealed relatively well stocked shelves, excepting fresh meats, which might have been scooped up yesterday. Not many early risers, nor traffic visible. I'm personally expect at least, a tropical storm watch for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands with the 1500Z forecast.
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 05:32EDT] - Martha Watkins Gilkes reporting from Antigua:
IT is 5 a.m. and I am up early to first log on internet....has been hard to always get on as it seems our server can't always supply access with everybody trying to get STORM 98! also.... so get started on closing up things! Our only airport will close later today... They will make a decision as to what time at 9 a.m. this morning. LIAT, our regional airline will take their airplanes south to GRENADA from late afternoon. IN a quick call just made to the Met office they say they think it will come closer to Antigua than orginally felt!! So we better all get busy!
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 02:08EDT] - Nick Maley reporting from Antigua:
It's a hot, still night in Antigua. Classic pre-storm calm. There was little sign of much concern in the North West of the island. I stopped to fill up with diesel for the genny... the girl at the pump said it had been a busy day, but I was the only one there at 5.15pm. From my terrace overlooking the sea I observed a few mariners moving boats (glad I don't have to worry about that this time), but there was no sign of panic nor sounds of hammering. I'm told the Antigua Met suggested that we would only get stormy winds here. I hope they're right. I certainly thought that yesterday. But the arrow on the Atlantic hurricane tracking map from Hawaii.edu http://www.hawaii.edu/News/localweather/atl.latest.gif only needs to curve our way a degree of two to catch us out. Nothing seems certain about this one. The HURRICANE GEORGES DISCUSSION NUMBER 15 from the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL http://asp1.sbs.ohio-state.edu/text/severe/tropical/WTNT42.KNHC even quotes the NOGAPS MODEL OUTPUTS...FROM 12Z to "FAVOR A MORE WNW TRACK WHICH PASSES A LITTLE TO THE NORTH OF THE ISLANDS". The only thing we can be sure of is that we will know everything...... by Monday.
September 19 1:40EDT - Be worried...
A quick update: the good news is that Georges hasn't strengthened in the last 6 hours. Maximum sustained winds and pressure unchanged. Also the three day forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows a slower strengthening than earlier. In 36 hours (about that time that it reaches the islands) maximum sustained winds are expected to be near 120 mph.
But: it seems that the National Hurricane Center has lost its confidence in its 3 day forecast. Although their forecast is very consistent, and still takes the center of Georges over Dominica, they mention that other models, esp. the NOGAPS shows that Georges might take a more WNW route taking it even North of the islands... The National Hurricane Center caution that:
INTERESTS IN THE CARIBBEAN SHOULD NOT FOCUS ON THE EXACT NHC FORECAST TRACK FOR TWO REASONS. FIRST...THE AVERAGE NHC TRACK ERROR FOR A 48 HOUR FORECAST IS AROUND 200 MILES. SECOND...THE HURRICANE IS NOT A POINT. GEORGES IS LIKELY TO AFFECT AN AREA SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES ACROSS. ALL AREAS WITHIN THE HURRICANE WATCH ARE POTENTIAL TARGETS OF HURRICANE FORCE WINDS OVER THE WEEKEND.
So everybody who is under a hurricane warning, do please take this dangerous storm seriously! Don't believe the National Hurricane Center and think it will pass safely south of you. This might very well not be the case!
[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 00:14EDT] - Luis Salazar reporting from San Juan, Puerto Rico:
At about 1:00 PM the San Juan area got a thorough dousing from a thunderstorm that ripped through the main business district in Hato Rey, and the cities of Rio Piedras, Guaynabo and Bayamon. The busiest highways were flooded creating an incredible evening traffic jam as people tried to leave the city to return to their homes in rush hour. Thousands of motorists were left stranded on the streets and roads as major intersections grounded to a halt due to people going through red lights in bumper to bumper traffic. The t-storm had nothing to do with Georges but several inches of water were dropped, the ground already wet from local rain was saturated once more and local flooding ocurred throughout the metroplex closing down main streets. Several thunder strikes were reported along with a 35 mph wind. So now with the ground super hydrated and Georges right nearby we just pray that ir will veer north and out to sea.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 23:14EDT] - ST TOM reporting from St.Thomas:
St. Thomas 11:15 p.m. The Governor's radio address made it clear that everyone needs to be prepared for this one. He went to far as to threaten any store that jacks up the prices on water and emergency provisions. Even though the last track from the National Hurricane Center showed a slight movement to the south, some models still have him making a slight northwesterly move as he approaches the lower islands. The Norweigan Sea departed this afternoon and it is unlikely that we will have another cruise ship in port for awhile. Any northward movement of the storm will drop Georges right in our lap. Current strike probabilities have dropped from 21% to 17%, depending on who's model you want to watch. Long lines at the gas stations. We anchored most of the charter boats deep in themangroves, but if Georges shows up with the forecasted 140 mph winds, things will get ugly. National guard arrived today and the governor said there are more arriving tomorrow. By the 11:00 p.mp update tomorrow, we should have a very good idea where Georges willmake landfall.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 23:14EDT] - John Fuller reporting from Antigua:
most of the well prepared businesses and govt. buildings have already boarded up.most boats are put away---but for some reason fish are biting like crazy and several boats are going out tommorrow to troll--wahoos tuna & marlin.tommorrow will be hectic for all.today in the streets in st.johns pickups of plywood were all about-even men walking with plywood on their heads.the regional airline has cancelled all eastern carib. flights in the carib.from tommorrow at least until monday.a lot of people are going to be stuck.i don't see a lot of stocking up - most are well prepared in advance of course we'll have large swells and there will be more coastal erosion but the true general consensus is that we'll manage this one alright-even with a close brush. will keep in touch.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 22:33EDT] - Debra Vela reporting from Puerto Rico:
Starting to prepare for Georges on Puerto Rico. We think it's going to pass approximately 130 miles south of the island. Today, one of my consultants phoned in with the news that the Navy (Roosevelt Roads) had sent all personnel home to prepare for a possible hit. Apparently, they feel that it is on the same path as Hugo and expect it to hit late Sunday or early Monday. We had a meeting at one of my clients today and we're on-call for Sunday to shut down the nets and move the systems to interior halls. The government has already issued the "can't raise the prices on primary goods" (food, water, gas, wood, etc.) call. Other than that, everything appears as normal as can be expected for this part of the world. BTW, our phone strike is over so most communications have been restored.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 22:22EDT] - Mike and Beth Smith ("Justin's Odyssey") reporting from St. Kitts:
Here in St Kitts, some preparation is taking place, mostly boat owners of which there are only about 10. A wait and see attitude is here, the last devastating hurricane was Hugo. Weather is beautiful. Will keep you posted as things improve or deteriorate.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 20:46EDT] - Abigail Cooles reporting from Dominica:
This afternoon, after a number of serious government advisiories, people started taking the hurricane a bit more seriously.. Driving round Roseau this evening, most people going home had lots of shopping bags! Rumour has it that there was a run on our main hardware store for batteries... Things were very quiet down on the streets, with many people seeming to be staying indoors, unusual for a friday night. This afternoon, I could hear alot of hammering, so it looks like people are taking this one more seriously than usual.. Most people are expecting it to come, and practically all sporting events and other activites are being cancelled for this weekend.. Tomorrow should see some more activity down in Roseau, as people prepare, for what most people now are expecting to be the worst... that's all for now..
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 20:02EDT] - John Dovale, (Visit megatropic.com's hurricane page), reporting from St.Maarten:
St.Maarten pre-storm We are currently in a Hurricane Watch situation but there are no signs of panic or hurried preparedness. People here seem confident that the storm will continue along the present westard motion and that we will only feel light effects of its passing. Of course, my opinion on that differes being that I have a Disaster Management background. I think tomorrow will tell the tale - should GEORGES strengthen overnight to a cat-3 or make a slight shift to the North. If this happens I believe we will see more of an active attitude towards getting prepared - although I do not foresee preparedness becoming a rush or panic situation. I can tell you that many people are expecting some form of weather because lots of people have been commenting on the fact that the last few days have been extemely hot (sweltering heat) and there has been very little in terms of wind movement . This has always been a scenario which indicated "storm in the vicinity". The other aspect which has had people on their toes for some time (at least those people I have spoken to) is the abundance of fruit and fruit blossoms on trees. Most tropical trees which bear fruit usually blossom when they detect the presence of moisture. There has been a lot of fruit trees blossoming lately and lots of fruit (I have at least 5 different types of fruit trees in my garden and all have been producing like crazy). In most cases which I have seen or studied based on historical investigation, some form of tropical weather normally follows this pattern. We are all eagerly watching GEORGES as tomorrow (SAT) will be the pivot point of decision for anyone who still needs to prepare.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 19:05EDT] - Liane Le Tendre, All-In-One BVI Vacations, reporting from Tortola:
I have been so busy this week that I haven't really paid too much attention to the weather conditions. I can tell you that everyone on Tortola is waiting with anticipation to see who ... NOT "if" anyone will be slammed and where the storm will go from the point of initial impact. We are pretty sure the initial landfall will be south of us at this point in time. Age is a nasty thing! On Monday I will be 44 years old and have several (old) sports related injuries. The last time my ankle and knee blew up (as they have today) was just prior to Hurricane Bertha which steem-rolled right over top of us in July, 1996. This physiological "clue" is also accompanied by an eerie "dead calm" here in Tortola. No wind of any kind. A sign which makes me believe my leg all the more. I know that this is hardly a scientific way to predict storms ... but it works for me. I believe in the physiological affects on humans and animals preceeding a storm. The smaller birds have started to disappear, an odd phenomena which accompanies storms of all types in the Caribbean. The sea birds are still out there though. That's a good sign! I hate to be a doomsayer, because it hurts business (especially tourism) all over the Caribbean ... but in this case I am 90% sure "something" will happen here and it will involve a lot of rain. My right leg is killing me! If the swelling and achiness goes away ... I will certainly let you know. However, the pain is excruciating at the moment. I hope everyone fares well and takes the necessary precautions. I am situated up the hill and overlooking the world renowned Bomba's Shack on the North West side of Tortola and I have a great view of Jost Van Dyke, Little Jost Van Dyke, Sandy Cay, Sandy Spit and a somewhat obscured view of St. Thomas in the background. I'll send any updates on my "ankle and knee" reports as and when they happen. Having NO knowledge of weather forecasting ... all of the above is to be taken as PURE CONJECTURE on my part. All the best to "All ah we" in the Caribbean. Its almost perfect here ... for now ... except for the horrendous service problems with our main server ... Caribsurf!
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 19:00EDT] - Rafael Buxeda Díaz reporting from Puerto Rico:
The weekend started with a bang. A local wave dumped 4" of rain on San Juan. This caused some urban flood and massive gridlock on major roads and avenues. Authorities have frozen prices on food stuffs to prevention speculation. After reading the 21:00 forecast, I believe George is probably the strongest storm in this area in the last 40 years. The Governor may appear on TV sometime Saturday morning. The Civil Defense is on stand by since noon today. A Category 3-4 storm as it approaches Puerto Rico is not something to look forward to. About the only thing going for George is it's speed. At 20 mph it's a thoroughbred! After reading messages from down island, they might want to be advised that there is a very professional private meteorologist, John Toohey Morales, based in Miami. He can be heard on Spanish language WKAQ-AM 580 khz and English language WOSO-AM 1030 khz. Both stations can be heard down island, especially during the evening. The forecast position for 9/21 at 1800Z places George 195 SSW from San Juan. With a 34 kt wind field reaching 125 miles on the northern edge, it doesn't take too much of a error to place 40+ mph over mainland Puerto Rico. Even if George does not make land fall on Puerto Rico, tides might cause major damage on the southern coast, since these beaches are manmade. Yours truly will raid the supermarkets VERY early tomorrow morning. While we await further developments, our thoughts are with residents in St. Lucia, St, Marteen, Anguilla and Saba.
September 18 17:16EDT - Hurricane watches issued
OK, the latest. Georges' eye is currently located at 13.7N, 48.5W or about 825 miles east of the islands. Winds are near 105 mph. Pressure has further dropped to 970 mbar. Moving along at 22mph, this means that the center will be near the islands within 38 hours. Since hurricane force winds extend to upward 30 nautical miles from the center, hurricane watches have been issued for the islands St.Lucia northward to Anguilla. The large number of islands under hurricane watch means that it is still quite uncertain where Georges will make landfall. The National Hurricane Center is very consistent with its forecast, and takes the center over Dominica. Other models show a more northwesterly track or even a little south. So everyone, stay alert. This is a dangerous hurricane! By the time it hits the islands maximum sustained winds are expected to be near 130 mph!!!!
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 17:12EDT] - Martha Watkins Gilkes reporting from Antigua:
THE ANTIGUA MET OFFICE HAS JUST GIVEN AN INDEPTH TV REVIEW and they feel that the worst Antigua will get is tropical strom conditions "Not hurricane conditions"... however they have advised us to check the 11 p.m and the 5 a.m. SAT reports before we breath easy... Many are not boarding up yet... but I think all should be more concerned and aware!
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 16:45EDT] - Bruno Benjamin reporting from Guadaloupe:
Things have changed so many times since last night, and Georges has changed his mind, deciding to run between Martinique and Dominica, but with its size, the south of Basse Terre and the tiny archipelago of Les Saintes will be concerned. This is for Guadeloupe. One more thing, we are on Hurricane watch at 5 PM.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 15:28EDT] - David McDermott reporting from St.Thomas:
St. Thomas is finally waking up also to the possibilities of a Cat-4 landfall. It's about time. I understand the Governor of the VI was on the radio earlier but I do not have that report. I'm sure the stores will be ridiculously packed tonight as everyone will do the last minute shopping they should have actually done back in June/July. A care-free attitude still appears to exist as no-one believes we will be hit by another monster so close to the last one. A decision is supposed to be made with regards to the closing of the port by the US Coast Guard tonight. I do not expect any cruise ships in before Thursday now. A Dutch naval vessel is pulling out tomorrow morning instead of Monday. The main marina is berefit of charter boats as well as pleasure as they are securing them in mangroves and other shelters. If necessary, I will be boarding up tomorrow late morning. Some models keep westerly but the others predict a more northward track. Again, these storms do have a "mind" of their own as weather is still an in-exact science! I will send another report tomorrow and after that will depend on conditions. Thanks to all who e-mailed beck to me. It's heartening to hear others are interested and care!
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 14:26EDT] - Martha Watkins Gilkes reporting from Antigua:
Having just flown back from USVIs last night (where many said there they are SAFE)-- since GEORGES is coming... I have rushed around this a.m. for last minute things... just returned from supermarket and hardware store... It's a mixed bag here with some saying it is going south so "no problem man"...as we say in the islands about anything we don't want to worry about... but others -- like me --- who still remember LUIS are getting ready in case the turn north does happen! The next 24 hours will tell, I suppose... but hopefully all will keep a good eye on this!
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 14:16EDT] - Stephen Mann reporting from Guadaloupe:
People here in Guadeloupe have an interesting view of storms like this. They say they will not come. Some of it has to with all the false alarms and associated preparation. So if you ask someone they generally are not too concerned until the government starters to give the warnings. Today Sept 18th it is a beautiful clear day albeit hotter than usual. On our final trip into town this morning there was more activity than normal at the gas station and grocery stores. The kids teachers started to talk to the kids about the storm and prepare them for what will come. We expect the first warning by this afternoon which should get people moving to prepare.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 14:11EDT] - Trevor Phipps reporting from St.Kitts:
Most of the supermarkets are experiencing heavier than usual activity. I suspect this is because of Georges and also because tomorrow is a public holiday 'Independence day'. A lot of the business places can be seen making preliminary preparations..... I believe that by later this afternoon, literally everyone will be in the stores making their final preparations.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 13:43EDT] - Judi and Greg Augustine reporting from Dominica:
Abigail hit the nail on the head. There is definitely a feeling of resignation among many Dominicans. There does seem to be a run on supplies at the local grocery stores, however. Here in Portsmouth we still have ships in Prince Rupert Bay that were abandoned after Marilyn and Hugo. Will a new storm do some shifting on these old wrecks? The students here at Ross are studying for mini exams on Monday--many are wondering what effect Georges may have on their exams. All of us are praying that the storm will be kind. Dominca does not want to go into tourist season with its beaches exposing big mossy boulders where the nice fine sand should be.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 12:49EDT] - Luis Salazar reporting from Puerto Rico:
Puerto Rico is begining to wake up to Georges. Though still some 1600 miles away (as of 0900 AST) the track that Georges has is probably the one most feared by all Caribbean residents since it is somewhat like Hugo's back in 1989. People are already going to the supermarkets and the buy up craze is on. The Government as of yet has not said anything but all official channels are monitoring the next 24 hours before hurricane watches or warnings are given yet a lot of talk on radio and TV is about the storm.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 11:54EDT] - Steve McCabe reporting from Dominica:
Roseau, Dominica, 12 noon. With the 11am advisory showing Georges maintaining it's westerly track towards Dominica, people are now beginning to take the threat seriously. The weather for now is exceptionally good with only a slight breeze.
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 11:37EDT] - Abigail Cooles, who lives just south of Roseau, Dominica reports the following:
Just to tell you what the situation is down here today.. Dominicans are very calm, in 95, people only went shopping when the wind had actually started! The Disaster Preparedness Comittee and the Red Cross have both called emergency meetings for this afternoon, and there seems to be a heightening awareness about what's "out there"... Unfortunately, there seems to be a bit of a fatalistic attitude about Georges, and to me the general vibes are those of resignation.. Current weather conditions are VERY calm, still and quiet here..We've got some patchy clouds and it's really hot, pretty similar to those in 95 before Marilyn and Iris..
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 11:13EDT] - Sebastien Enselme reporting from Guadaloupe:
Here in Guadeloupe people are taking this hurricane pretty seriously since yesterday (thursday) evening. This morning there were many people on the shops buying essential stuff : Water, milk, batteries, rum ! The system is still too far to know if it will hit our island badly, but the forecasted strengtening and the actual track tells us to monitor that carefully. The local TV and Radio is informing the people pretty well, which is not often the case that early.
September 18 11:05DT - Moving along...
The 11AM advisories came in, so a short update. Georges' center is now located at 13.1N, 46.6W. Winds are near 100 mph. This system still looks very healthy, so further strengthening seem inevitable. The 3-day forecast slows a little slower forward motion, but still along the same track. Not all weathermodels agree though. Some take Georges more northernly...
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 09:53EDT] - Sonny Bellevue reporting from Point-Noire on the west coast of Guadaloupe:
For now Georges is supposed to interest Guadeloupe island for next days... But the activity of Georges began yesterday in the end of the day... First the sea chage moving (N-NE moving), and the rain begin to fall "with interrupted sun beam" .
September 18 8:55DT - Getting stronger...
The latest (5AM advisories) on Georges: the eye, located at 12.9N, 45.2W (or about 1000 miles from the islands), is now clearly visible. Winds have further increased to near 90 mph. Pressure has dropped to 978 mbar. The only positive thing I can think of that its forward speed is now 23 mph. It will be over fast!
The 3 day forecast is not promising. In 48 hours it is expected to be a Category 4 Hurricane, with 140 mph winds! As it looks right now Georges is still expected to move over the southern part of Dominica. However, everyone in the NE Caribbean should pay close attention to this dangerous hurricane as well. Also, keep in mind that I am mostly referring to the what the National Hurricane Center is predicting. There are many other weather models, some of which show a more northernly route...
[Fri, 18 Sep 1998 07:52EDT] - Alan B. Scholl reporting from Antigua:
Based on the most recent predictions it is projected to pass between Mart and Dom now. However, when they come in like this one, a degree shift to the north or south will mean a different country so we all have to be vigilant. By the time it arrives according to the maps, it will be hovering around 118-123 MPH NOT VERY PRETTY!!! I just hope that GEORGE is not LUIS' bigger brother!!!
[Thu, 17 Sep 1998 23:39EDT] - Judi and Greg Augustine reporting from Portsmouth, Dominica:
Greetings from Dominica. Right now, only a few people are aware that there might be a storm coming. We seem to be pretty lucky, and usually the storms pass to the North. I serve pizza to the medical students here on the island. I questioned several of them re: the storm. None of them were even aware of the possibility. This evening the sky was quite starry, but the wind had a rather unusual chill to it. I guess time will tell. We will keep in touch.
September 17 23:35EDT - Dominica?
It does not look good... Winds have increased to near 80mph, pressure has dropped to 984 mbar. And it still doesn't want to move more northward. Current location: 12.6N, 43.1W, that is just 0.1 degrees (6 nautical miles) northward over the last 6 hours!
Some rough back on the envelope calculations of when Georges is likely to make landfall: Georges' eye is now about 1240 miles from Dominica. Moving along during this period at 21 mph, makes the trip last about 60 hours, or almost 2.5 days. Winds up to 50 knots extend to up to 50 nm outward from the center. So Saturday late night, Sunday morning will be D-Day.
[Thu, 17 Sep 1998 22:51EDT] - John Fuller reporting from Antigua:
i'm afraid we got a little complacent and now only 2 days to get ready!tommorrow and sat. will be a mad rush.most people are praying that it will pass n. or s. or anywhere but here but a few of us are a little freaky and secretly have a passion for this sort of ACTION .the boatyards are already out of space and stands. everyone is on a gradually heightening awareness and putting into effect their plans. will keep in touch as long as lines are up.
September 17 17:25EDT - Hurricane Georges...
An eye has formed, this combined with other data, has prompted the National Hurricane Center to upgrade Georges to the 4th Hurricane of the season. Maximum sustained winds are near 75mph. The eye is located at 12.5N, 41.1W. Georges is still moving a little north of due west at 20mph.
The 3 day forecast indicate that Georges will be located at 16.0N, 60.0W in 3 days, with winds near 115 mph. The coordinates of Guadaloupe are 16.3N 61.5W, so that's about 90 miles west of Georges' eye... Antigua is at 17.1N, 61.8W... The Marine Advisory shows that at that time 50 knt winds (55mph) extend to up to 50 nm (55m) outward the center. They point out though that errors may be large. But, the longer Georges moves into this direction, the smaller the chance that it will go north of the islands...
[Thu, 17 Sep 1998 13:08EDT] - David McDermott reporting from St.Thomas:
It is still too early to accurately predict Georges course. However, based upon all available information at this time, I believe the Northeastern Antilles islands are in trouble. I see just enough northerly turn by Sunday pm to put this storm on our doorstep. There is minimal local reaction at this time. The local paper, Daily News, has an extremely brief mention of the storm buried in the middle. No government mention at this time. I will be stocking up again for some supplies like bottled water and canned goods plus gas/oil for the generators. The general feeling about a direct hit is that the Virgin Islands cannot sustain another direct hit. While disaster relief/communications are much improved, the economy isn't. Tourism, just before high season, will suffer tremendously. The local economy will be irreparably damaged due to lost tax revenues. Repairing the building damage will be ok initially, but then the construction industry will dry up as no insurance company will issue new policies. The companies that are here will leave. Hopefully, it will turn but I doubt it. Good luck to us all!
September 17 12:30EDT - Still not moving northward enough...
Georges is slowly strengthening. Maximum sustained winds are now near 60 mph. It might reach hurricane status within 24 hours. The center is located at 12.2N, 39.2W, or about 1400 miles east of the islands. George is moving a little bit north of due west at 20 mph. Minimum central pressure is now below the 1000 mbar mark (999).
The three day forecast shows that Georges will more or less continue on this path. Well, we know what this means... If it doesn't move more northward it will make landfall in the NE Caribbean. In 72 hours models show that the center of George is expected to be near 15.5N, 58.0W with near 100 mph winds (a Category 2 hurricane). If it continues in this direction after the 72 hour period, it will hit somewhere north of Guadaloupe... But again, it is still too early to tell. Let's just hope Georges will move so far north that it will just bypass the NE Islands...
September 16 11:05EDT - TD7 upgraded to Tropical Storm Georges
The National Hurricane Center has TD7 upgraded to Tropical Storm Georges (the NHC Advisory mentions that 'the name [Georges] is French and is pronounced zhorzh').
Georges' center is currently located at 10.5N, 32.4W. Maximum sustained winds are near 40mph. This system is still forecasted to strengthen to a hurricane in 72 hours. It is moving west at about 20mph. At this speed Georges' center might reach the islands in about 95 hours (4 days). The current forecast keeps Georges pretty far south. In 3 days is might be as far south as 13.5N (50W), which is the same latitude as Barbados (which is at 59.5W). However, there is still a lot of uncertainty with what will happening ahead of Georges, so it might even bypass the islands completely.
[Tue, 15 Sep 1998 12:18EDT] - David McDermott reporting from St.Thomas:
Just reviewed the satellite photo's and coordinates of TD #7. Even though it is way too early for even concrete speculation, the initial coordinates and 3 day forecast already have some people scared. Since it has been just upgraded as of the 11 AM advisories, it is too early to gauge wide-spread reaction. However, the few people I have talked to, mostly in the boating community, don't like this one at all. I must concur, at least from this early point. Current weather is very hazy (Saharan dust), muggy, and hot. The island is very green with heavy overgrowth due to lot's of precipitation over the last few weeks. Similar circumstances were apparent before Hurricane Marilyn in Sept. 1995.
September 15 11:55EDT - Tropical Depression #7
The impressive tropical wave which just rolled of the African coast, I mentioned yesterday has been upgraded to a tropical depression. It's 'center' is located pretty far south, at 9.0N, 25.9W. This system is moving more or less due west. The three day forecast indicate that it will continue to move generally westward for the next 72 hours. This means that it will be highly likely that it will hit one of the islands... The forecast also indicates that it will reach hurricane strength (wind speeds over 74 mph) within 3 days. So...it doesn't look too good right now, but since this is the first forecast associated with this system, there is still a lot of uncertainty.
September 14 9:55EDT - More activity in the Atlantic
Satellite images show that there are a couple of tropical waves again in the Atlantic. One impressive one just rolled off the coast of Africa. We'll see what happens in the next couple of days.
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