[IMG: Hurricane Georges making landfall on the Dominican Republic September 22, 1998; Credit: Dennis Chesters, Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, Craig Mayhew, and Hal Pierce, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Caribbean Hurricane Page

Updates from the Islands
Georges - St.Thomas

See also the updates on this webpage: http://www.house.gov/christian-green/hurricane.htm

The recent updates can be found on another page.

[Tue, 22 Sep 1998 14:58EDT] - Dana Victor Montenegro reporting on St. Thomas, USVI:

     I just spoke to someone at FEMA Region II (which has responsibility for
     Puerto Rico and the USVI).  They say that St. Thomas did not take the full
     brunt of the hurricane and has limited damage expected to be far less than
     that inflicted by our two previous strikes (Hugo and Marilyn).

     The airport will be opened by today.  On-island phone service is still
     operation for most people though (as you all know) long distance service is
     still not functioning.  ATT is sending a crew that will assess the damage
     today and should have service up tomorrow.

     Radio stations are still in operation and most roads are passable.  Both
     St. Thomas and St. Croix hospitals are functioning.

     There are no reported fatalities.

     Our Delegate to Congress also confirmed this information and will be
     posting information on her web site shortly at

[Tue, 22 Sep 1998 12:33EDT] - Terry reporting on St. Thomas, USVI (received via Kelly Karpoe):

     Ok...here goes...Don't want to worried everyone to death but I just
     received a very disturbing phone call from a friend who works for FEMA. :
     She said they had an underground shelter in Red Hook that they have have no
     contact with since last night at 7:00. She said that it seems to be much
     worse than what is shown on TV. They are expecting Marylin like or worse
     All phone services (even cell) are down. They did speak with someone on a
     ham radio in St Thomas who said it was extremely bad and there is a 24 hour
     curfew. No one is allowed to leave their homes. He said there were roofs
     and debris everywhere and was scared for the lives of some who did not take
     proper precautions.
     FEMA has a plane which was scheduled to fly over the island at 11:00 this
     morning, then land. When they are able to contact the states on conditions
     my friend will know immediately and call me so I can inform all.
     Lets all pray that this is not what they expect here. I will update any
     further news as soon as I get it.......Terrie
     I am really sorry but I just wanted to let you all know what i was told

[Mon, 21 Sep 1998 11:29] - Chris Judd reporting from St. Thomas, USVI:

     We are on the West end of STT and went to Brewers for a walk this morning
     at 9 or so.  There were signs of wind during the night as there was a good
     sized palm upturned on the beach.  Right now it feels like a warm fall day
     in October back in New York.  Its actually quite nice right now.  The light
     winds are refreshing.  WAPA has been on the ball and it seems like
     everything that could be done has... so lets get ready to rumble... only
     not too much.  Thanks to all who wrote last night with words of support,
     and good luck to all. I'll try to write again soon.

[Mon, 21 Sep 1998 11:24EDT] - Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     Hi all, shocking we are still connected isn't it?  It is about 11:30 am
     and the winds beating on St. Thomas are massive.  THE MONSTER IS COMING.
     It's outer arms are beating down on us in strong waves of wind.  But
     that is nothing yet for old Georgie is myopic and thinks St. Thomas is
     the Dragon's tail.  When the wind swirls it pounds as if it were angry.
     The howling wind is ghastly!!!!!!!  "Let the heavens rejoice and be
     glad".  There is a beauty to the thing, really.

     For those who need some prayer help, remember the Lord's answer to Job?
     The power of the Lord is overwhelming,  "Where were you when I founded
     the earth? Tell me if you have understanding......  Have you entered the
     storehouse of the snow and seen the treasury of the hail which I have
     reserved for times of stress....which way to the parting of the winds,
     whence the east wind spreads over the earth?"  (Job 38 especially verses
     4, 22 to 24.)

     And it sure is spreading over the Virgin Islands, the last advisory
     stated that

     I keep crying wolf, I am sorry, if I can't send again I will after it is
     over.  Anybody got some root beer, that is just about my speed and I am
     thirsty!  A blessing on you all.  From Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI,
     Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón.

[Mon, 21 Sep 1998 10:23EDT] - Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:


     Hello all, 10:25 am. Good old GEORGES lost his dragon and figured he'd
     take a vacation downside, "down the way where the nights are gay...".
     Somebody knows where his dragon is?, cause the fury that is descending
     now on St. Thomas is unbelivable.  Hurricane force winds, little water,
     a howling of wolves I wouldn't want to dance with.  Sounds like the
     thing is much closer than the news has it.  I am surprised we still have
     electricity.  Thank God for that.
     At any time you may lose me so here's to you all. I toast, with my coffe
     cup in hand, all those who have been praying for me and us islanders as
     I keep thinking "I wanna go home, I don't want to go to OZ".  I have my
     bathroom window open a wee bit and a northwest window so the pressure
     doesn't build and the gust that just blew in and out scared me enough to
     make me jump.  Don't want to implode, though, if it gets really bad I
     must go downstairs.  I figure, if I am still on line, I will pack my
     computer at around 11:30 am.  (If I lose it, any one donating a laptap?
     I'll go crazy without one.  Just kidding - we hope this house is safe

     I think that most phones are out now but nothing more serious seems to
     have happened than the small pieces of zinc and lids that have flown by.
     Just went to bathroom and looked out of window and the neighbors from
     across the street are on the porch!   The man is still nailing up his
     house!  What a life this is.  I wouldn't go out if you paid me....   Be
     well all and keep the prayers up.  Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón

[Mon, 21 Sep 1998 09:35EDT] - Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     9:25, hurricane force winds arriving now, should be here in all its
     glory by noon, could be last update until after storms.  Please pray for
     us.  Things are still basically calm although I saw a garbage can
     rolling down the  hill.  Some people have called although there is not
     much more I can say.  Phones were out for a couple of minutes.  I am now
     on modem and regular phone line.  Gusts are quite strong, enough to
     creak the wood nailed to the walls and windows that have a small bit of
     spacing.  Since it was strengthening the wind is louder and wilder
     bending the trees a bit.  Alas, no more fruit on the trees in garden.  I
     guess I should thank God I face the northwest.  Take care all, here's
     hoping I can get back to you.  Light flickers so I'd better sign off,

[Mon, 21 Sep 1998 08:44EDT] - Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     8:45 am, St Thomas is windy, wet and howling.  The dogs finally began to
     bark again an hour ago.  Yelping is the word for it, though, not the
     usual bark at someone passing by.  Sort of like the bark from hill to
     hill the old Dalmatians Cartoon Movie (I have not seen the newer
     version) had when the dogs passed the news back to the parents of where
     the puppies were.

     We natives are getting restless as we rise.  Have heard children
     shouting and people talking for first time since yesterday evening.  The
     guy with the electric saw is still at it, must be taking advantage of
     the fact he isn't working to build his house.  Some gusts now exceed 65
     mph winds, enough to rip the small papaya fruit from the trees in the
     church gardens.  The graphics of the storm have the monster right over
     the BVI, USVI, and Vieques and Culebra Islands belonging to Puerto Rico.
     It still is east of St. Croix; however, the relative dryness of the wind
     makes me fear for trees, grass and plants.  The Caribbean has beautiful
     flora.  Some might say "you'd do better to fear for human lives".  Yes,
     but our life here is surrounded by God's beautiful creation and the
     depressing images of last hurricane in St. Croix that left a barren and
     naked brown landscape is something we never want to see again.

     For those of you stateside and in the larger Antilles, weather in St.
     Thomas has not really become dangerous although some gusts seem to break
     the sound barrier and lights flicker every now and then.  Time enough
     NOW to call your loved ones if you want a familial update since if lines
     go down with the hurricane force winds we will probably be out for days.
     We all are just waiting and waiting and praying so cheer them up and
     call them and let them know you are with them in spirit.  Be blessed,

[Mon, 21 Sep 1998 07:21EDT] - Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     Hello everyone, it is 7:14 am in America's Paradise, just heard a couple
     of minutes ago that the weakening is over, GEORGES seems to be gathering
     strength for the onslaught, it is tougher for us, then.  Winds are still
     howling in, in waves, with some rain.  (light just flickered at 7:15).
     Some still insist on checking out the scenery by driving along route 38
     heading from 4 winds towards the east side.  Unbelievable.  Winds are
     becoming stronger and stronger.  Funny, I read in one of the messages
     from Antigua? Anguila? that they heard birds chirping.  I just did.
     Never have before during a hurricane.  Somewhere far off a siren sounds
     and the lights are flickering as the winds batter more.  Will try to
     write later.  Signing off at 7:23 am. Be well all, from St Thomas, USVI,
     Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón

[Mon, 21 Sep 1998 06:06EDT] - Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     It is now 6:00 am.  The first consistent waves of battering rains and
     wind have begun to batter us, my room is on the northwest facing a hill
     that has two homes on it so it is well protected.  The front of the
     building faces the east from where the monster comes and the scene
     outside is still that of a very rainy and windy day.  Every once in a
     while a strong gust hits with a howling that frightens, that is why I do
     not understand how someone can be out driving in this weather.  Few cars
     go by a very busy street but even those needlessly put their lives and
     the lives of the Guard and the Police who must go after them in danger.

     Usually by now I get ready for morning mass which is at 6:30 am: there
     will be none today as I announced yesterday I'd celebrate mass bedside
     if there were heavy winds in the morning.  If the winds keep up we will
     lose electricity before noon.  I feel sorry for those who went through
     Hugo and Marilyn and Luis and God knows how many other Hurricanes and
     are alone, as I am.  This wind and howling is only reminding them, as it
     is me, of what is coming.  But for now, only the storm level wind and
     the rains.  Will sign off now since electricity flickered and don't want
     to lose what I have written.  Be blessed all and, in spite of GEORGES,
     have a good day.

[Mon, 21 Sep 1998 05:33EDT] - Father José Antonio Oquendo-Pabón reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     Good morning everyone, it is now 5:00 am in St. Thomas, USVI.  The storm
     winds have arrived.  I took a nap of over 3 hours, finally slept  like a
     log although some neighbor was running an electric saw at 12:30 am.  I
     was exhausted jumping from the PR newspaper  online and CNN reports,
     running to look at the window, ICQing my sister, Dr. Ana Cristina
     Oquendo Pabon, from St. Petersburg, Fl, and friends from various places,
     reading constant general and personal email from Caribbean, Coqui and
     Borinquen Lists and those who have read my updates from this page,
     answering telephone calls from parishoners, family and friends and those
     of you who were worried about family.  CBS Radio wanted me to call but
     had no time for that unless they called me. I am certainly not looking,
     am not anxious for publicity.

     Anyway, the weather right now is tropical storm weather.  For you
     northerners who have never experienced this, the best I can do is this.
     Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York, I use to hate the cold autumn
     rains when we went to school in Brooklyn Heights from Fort Greene,
     waiting for a bus that never came.  The gusts of winds would sometimes
     blow you across the pavement toward a wall or a fence, howling as it bit
     at you, shaking you the way it shook a leaf off of a tree.  Take out the
     cold - although for the Caribbean it is cold right now, that is why I
     woke up at 4:35, had to turn off the ceiling fan - and you have what we
     are experiencing.  There are no lights in the homes around the church or
     parish house, although the porch lights in most houses are on as they
     are on all mornings.  The dogs of the neighborhood, usually howling all
     night and keeping me awake, have been quiet since they whimpered
     yesterday afternoon.  The wind is howling now through my windows,

[Sun, 20 Sep 1998 23:38EDT] - Chris Judd reporting from St. Thomas, USVI:

     St. Thomas at 11:30 is as beautiful if not more beautiful than ever.  The
     stars are out, there is a slight breeze, you know the one people come down
     here for, and it is just a gorgeous night.  It seems eerie knowing what is
     just out of sight.
       We are still waiting for the fates to take their course.  George has
     taken a slight turn toward the north and if I were the praying type I would
     be on my knees asking for it to go North -way North.  Good luck to everyone.
     Thanks for this bulletin, it is helping to calm my slightly frayed nerves.

[Sun, 20 Sep 1998 23:09EDT] - Father Jose Antonio Oquendo-Pabon reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     Hello from America's Paradise, it is 11:00 pm and the monster is calming
     down.  It is still dangerous but is now only 115 mph.  It's tropical
     winds will get her in morning, it's cyclonic winds around noon unless it
     continues to weaken.  It is however, erratic.  Still no sign of GEORGES.
     Before going to bed I want to reassure you that nothing is happening in
     the Virgen Islands, people are obeying the curfew, no wind nor weather
     although the stifling heat from the nailed up homes is getting to us.
     Two of our priests are Chaplains in the Reserve and they have called to
     see how I was doing, assuring me that nothing comes until after 6:00 am.
     I have called FR. Jerome at the Cathedral, all is well. If danger
     approaches, I will try to write again before we lose electricity.  Have
     a good rest everyone.  And don't go out into the winds.  Be blessed

[Sun, 20 Sep 1998 19:53EDT] - Father Jose Antonio Oquendo-Pabon reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     Hello again, friends.  St Thomas at 7:45 pm is calm.  Even though our
     curfew begins in about 15 minutes there are alot of cars still out.
     After the afternoon message, we have had very little rain although when
     it began it seemed as if the deluge had arrived.  People are still
     coming to the grocery store to get staples.  Right now it is a regular
     Sunday night evening, perhaps a mite cooler, but nothing to say that
     there is a massive Hurricane system approaching.  Most people finished
     their preparations this afternoon, and then sat before the tv or radio
     to listen to updates about the leeward islands where many have
     relatives.  I have seen quite a few police cars around.  There is
     nothing more to point out now than to thank those who have written to
     me.  I cannot call long distance direct so those who have written they
     would like to speak to me can call 340 775 1650.  Be blessed, all will
     be back to let you know about conditions at 11 or so.

[Sun, 20 Sep 1998 15:46EDT] - Father Jose Antonio Oquendo-Pabon reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     Hello again, it is 3:45 pm in St. Thomas.  Around an hour ago, with the
     sun still shining and the heat unbearable, dozens and dozens of cars
     descended onto Tutu Mall.  Last minute buyers I suppose.  I was going
     around visiting some parishoners I was concerned about when the sky
     became overcast and droplets rained momentarily only to be blown away
     with two or three gusts.  The sky is now sunny again with the wind
     picking up slowly.  Didn't sleep much last night with the hammering and
     now a nap is impossible since the dogs yelp every once in a while and
     someone is using an electric saw.  This morning my parishoners were good
     with each other inviting those who were alone or in unsafe housing to
     come and spend the storm with them.  The front grocery store is also
     still open, unending comings and goings in spite of the wind picking up
     slowly but surely.  A moment it howled for the first time through my
     window, and right now the overcast is total as the wind comes with the
     breeze.  Winds are like storm leval, far from what is coming but scary
     enough.  Right now it has picked up and is bringing the rain.  Be well
     all, will be back when and if I can.

[Sun, 20 Sep 1998 12:53EDT] - Max R. Schanfarber reporting from St. Thomas, USVI:

     Just a quick note.  The governor has sent a request to Clinton in
     advance of the storm for a declaration of a state of emergency in the
     event it is needed.
     Federal marshals and other support is already on island.
     Water and Power has pledged to keep the power on till any feeder going
     out can't be reset after two tries, then they will shout down the
     The governor has issued a curfew for 8:00 pm tonight and declared a
     price freeze to prevent gouging.
     It seems everything that can be done is being done.  Lets hope for the
     best but be ready for the worst.

[Sun, 20 Sep 1998 11:20EDT] - Father Jose Antonio Oquendo-Pabon reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     It is almost 11:30 in Saint Thomas, USVI, the weather is beautiful
     almost belying the monster Hurricane that is approaching the Caribbean
     Islands.  The wind is slowly picking up but it is muggy and the sun
     feels hotter than ever.  Everyone is calm although one can tell all are
     concerned not just for ourselves but for all islands as almost half if
     not more of the people in St. Thomas have relatives on other islands.
     No more hammering is heard, most preparations are done with.  God knows
     the people need time to share and laugh and be company to each other.
     There is a real sense of community people telling others not to stay
     alone, to come to their house etc.  At any rate, have a good day
     everyone.  Will be back in afternoon.

[Sun, 20 Sep 1998 02:09EDT] - Father Jose Antonio Oquendo-Pabon reporting from Tutu Estate, St. Thomas, USVI:

     Good morning everyone, it is 2:12 in the morning Sunday, 20 of sept.  I
     am residing in Saint Thomas on Cassi Hill, Parish of Holy Family Roman
     Catholic Church.  About half an hour ago a neighbor FINALLY finished
     hammering, which is why I am still awake.  Took advantage of the lack of
     sleep to find out about the Visitor.  All is calm, winds are included,
     but it has been raining for a while.  Neighbors were hammering all day,
     people have been readying since Friday since the experience is not new
     to any of us.  I will be back during the day unless the phone lines go
     down.  My prayer is that none of the islands suffer, but from the latest
     graphics that seems impossible.  Let's just do the best we can and leave
     the rest in His hands.  Have a good night.

[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 21:32EDT] - David McDermott reporting from St.Thomas (USVI):

     St. Thomas appears to be in a frenzy at the moment. Supermarkets are full,
     gas lines are long, phone lines are repeating "All circuits are busy", and
     vehicles are passing by with red gas containers and plywood. It finally
     took hold approx. 11:00 am this morning that there was a dangerous storm
     approaching. Early, it appeared not the case. Church services were held, a
     young girls soccer match was being played, and people were laughing this
     off. Not so at this time.

     The cruise ship Monarch of the Seas came in from down island about noon.
     They left about 7:00 pm hoping to make Puerto Rico by 2:00 am. This ship
     usually comes in on Mondays but the storm's approach changed it's last
     island's itinerary. They made lot's of phone calls as the payphones had
     long lines.

     There appears to also be a sigh of resignation, almost as if they knew it
     was going to hit even though they openly said it wouldn't. The sounds of
     "boarding up" can be heard everywhere. The repeating conversation at this
     time is "the storm really isn't the problem. It's the aftermath that's
     bad". I must agree.

     Current weather is partially cloudy with a passing shower and muggy. I am
     going to take this set-up home and work off my generator afterwards. I'll
     update tomorrow before the expected curfew.

[Sat, 19 Sep 1998 21:25EDT] - ST TOM reporting from St.Thomas (USVI):

     "It's nine o'clock and all's well"..That is a phrase that will quickly fade of into the
     distance.  Just watched the 9:00 EST update on the Weather Channel and the forecaster claims
     that this storm is worse than Hugo  or Marilyn and is only 10 mph away from becomming a
     category 5. Looks like there's no escaping Georges, all we can do at this point is continue
     to prepare as best as e can and find safe haven till he blows over.  The path now looks like
     it will be only slightly to the south of the Virgin Islands, or slightly to the north,
     depending on which news service you watch.  Problem is that what lies just between 'a little
     to the north, and a little to the south' is called a direct hit, and we hope Georges passes
     to the south and dies somewhere in open water. As for the lower islands, of Guadeloupe,
     Martinique, Dominica...they are under a hurricane warning now and we hope for the best for
     them...Power will be shut off here 2 hours before 'impact' as the Governor says...so I'll
     try to give you folks an update tomorrow if possible.  The defining moment of this storms
     landfall predictions should be the 11:00 EST update tonight from the NHC..........film at

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