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- - - 2008 Hurricane Season - - -

- Rainbows and Rain at last
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2009 08:17:02 -0400
A very large wispy vague rainbow was west of us this morning.  We had  a few light showers last night
and looking forward to some rainier days to soften the crunch of the foliage on the west end of St Thomas.  The waterman
is exhausted and we need this cool relief. 
Is there anyone on the East end of St Thomas that can report about a possible dump fire? or any other fire on the East end
or on  St John ? one of our writers in Culebra this morning noted a strong whiff of burning something last night and early this morning.
As we get closer to June the pantry needs to be recycled and restocked.  The cooler ocean temperatures are on our side this
storm season but even a small storm can hit someone directly.  Time to start to prepare for what might come.
Jane Higgins in Fortuna,
West End, St Thomas USVI

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2009 09:14:57 -0400
I think of Storm Carib  after a night like the last.  Wild , windy, circular winds, plants down on the deck, big floaties in the pool, and
the seas look too big for any fun.  The shutters slammed, the cats stayed in and we slept in between bangs and thumps.  Assuming
a few coconuts came down.  Still not so cold you have to scrape ice off the windshield but not exactly a fabulous day in paradise.
Hoping for some sunshine today.
Jane Higgins 
St Thomas US Virgin Islands
jhigginswear at islands.vi

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 10:20:32 -0400
Great news from St Maarten and St Kitts, now hoping that St Croix can finally get
all it's electricity back this week.  We are having fantastic weather as reported.
The fall veggie line up is already getting ahead of me. Brandywine heirloom tomatoes,
green and red peppers, and plenty of dill are well on the way.  The fall blooming orchids
that I tied to trees and split up last spring are starting to show that they will make their
annual  November 1 opening. 
It is beginning to feel allot like high season! At last.
We are the happiest folks on the planet when the sun is shining. The seas are being a little
bossy on the north side but the south side is looking good for water skiing.
No matter how bad things may look on Wall street, everyone needs a vacation and we are
ready for you, come on down.
Jane Higgins
on the sunny side of life in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands

- pictures were from St Maarten
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 20:20:18 -0400
the pictures I just sent were from ST MAARTEN , Dutchside...FYI...

- pictures from : More Omar
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 19:59:03 -0400
Title: FW: More Omar

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Attachment: Omar4.jpg
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  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2008 07:12:44 -0400


jhigginswear at islands.vi

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Description: JPEG image

- Omar
  • From: Gert van Dijken <gert at vandijken.com>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:09:36 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 09:58:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Smokey Pratt <smokestah at yahoo.com>

Omar went to east of the islands as you know. At 2am power went out on N side St Thomas. It was gusty 35-40 mph but little rain during the morning hours or since then. Still no power in Hull Bay but curfew lifted at 11am I am at my art gallery in Yacht Haven Grande with power. Streets are pretty clear, traffic is sane and the sun is shining. We were very lucky with this storm. smokey

- Sun's out!!
  • From: ronusvi at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 09:40:55 -0400
Now, if they only lift the curfew! A surprise visit form Governor DeJongh on 93.5 FM in St Croix right now discussing the storm.

Ronnie Lockhart

- It's All Good on St. Thomas
  • From: "Max Henderly" <max at henderly.com>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 09:14:24 -0400

On the far northeast mountain top on St. Thomas, we had a few tree limbs down with lots of leaves on the ground.  Otherwise, there was absolutely no damage by wind or water.  On a side note; I guess we need to commend WAPA for strengthening their infrastructure.  We only had a couple very brief lapses in power.  Electricity was available from WAPA continuously throughout the storm.  I hope everyone else weathered as well as we did.


Max Henderly


- Huh?
  • From: ronusvi at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 04:47:40 -0400
Did I sleep through Omar? Have I gone deaf? Maybe I am sleepwalking. Went out and looked to be sure and it's as calm as can be, however looking at the coordinates, Omar is here. Oh well. A Cat 3? We must be in the eye, however I have heard nothing going on to get us here! Sorry to give such a strange report.

Ronnie Lockhart

- St. Croix and Anguilla
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 04:17:19 -0400
Hoping for some reports from St. Croix and Anguilla????

- Omar blowing by
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 03:55:35 -0400
The wind gusts just woke me up.  Coming in gusts, not much rain. You can feel the air
moving under the shutters and thru the house.

- found him, and Omar
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 22:12:47 -0400
I found Buzz the cat on my last walk about for the night.  It is getting a little wild out there now
and I'm in for the night.  The wind is coming up, the pool has some wave action going on,
the tops of the nearest trees are moving in a circle and the raindrops are huge.  I suspect
we are still the lucky ones when I look at the radar and suggest that in about 3 hours I'll be
wide awake again listening to the reminiscent sound of trains.  The crickets and tree frogs
still have the louder voice at the moment even thru the shutters but that gusty whistling sound
is beginning. 
Many many thanks to our power company for keeping up all the way till 10 pm, so many times
on bright sunny days the power has failed, but not this day and this is the one when we really
needed it.  Hoping for electricity to continue  as we watch Omar blow by, and he is picking up speed
now, the latest I hear is 17 mph....whoopee!!!  go Omar go....away, bring back some sun .
Jane Higgins, another relieved kitty Mom

- where is Buzz?
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 21:42:28 -0400
We are all tucked in, thought we had the 4 cats in, the 3 dogs are walked and happy,
and now I can't find my (favorite,don't  tell anyone) kitty named Buzz Aldrin.  As my husband
is an aviator, the cats names are Pratt and Whitney (not Whitney Houston) Amalia Earhart
and of course dear Dear Buzzy the astronaut.  I've been outside walking around in the
rain and wind for a time now and I can't find him.  He just had some shrimp cocktail with
us in the house and now he is gone.  Was it when we finished up the last shutter? We
always wait till the bitter end to do that last shutter, as the closed up feel and stuffiness
of being locked in is so eerie.  The aviator is asleep now after a huge day of tucking in
airplanes, running last minute supply runs ; taking solar panels off the roof, and closing
up shutters, and I'm wide awake missing my Buzzy kitty and deciding that I'll probably
go out again in a while and look for him again.  Kitties are weird that way, they know when
something is up and they don't like being locked up.  I have to assume he can tuck himself
in the bush deeply and get thru this as my other wild feral kitties that I feed do everyday
in any weather.
The wind is picking up now for sure but nothing more than Christmas winds, and the rain
continues to weep and the falls continue over the back wall, but nothing we can't handle.
It is still such a privilege to live in this special place and of course as long as the power is
on I'll continue to be in love with our island life. 
Take care, check in and stay dry. 
Jane Higgins, the pilot, the 3 dogs, and 3 ? kitties missing one on the wet  West End  of St Thomas

- Live from St. Thomas
  • From: "Max Henderly" <max at henderly.com>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 20:10:20 -0400

Winds are starting to pick up steadily, 25 knots.  There is very minimal rain at this point on the far north east side of St. Thomas.  The visibility is good now in that I can see the lights on St. John, Tortola, and Jost Van Dyke very clearly.


Max Henderly

- Omar? rain a plenty!
  • From: ronusvi at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 19:49:33 -0400
Been raining on and off all day. Those outer bands are dropping some water. Streets all covered in water. Waterfalls where they weren't before. Traffic was backed towards the country area. Grocery stores crowded. 6 o'clock curfew in affect with the promise of arrests! My guests were pulled over before 6 and told to get home before the curfew. The Governor had a phone up campaign telling everyone what to prepare for. Very ingenious. Now, we sit and wait for Omar. Will he be brutal or just a slap on the back? He has changed direction and gotten strong then weak so many times God knows what will happen. Until then, good luck!

Ronnie Lockhart

- Omaror
  • From: PANTUSCO at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 19:20:36 EDT
Hi All,
I am actually in Florida right now. Glued to the weather channel, of which I will get to in a minute.....
Anyway, my fabulous employees have secured the restaurant as well as possible and several of them are now at my house taking care of pets and have all of that secured as well. Just hope this thing is easy on everyone.
Now, back to the Weather Channel........
Are these reporters not required to take at least ONE course in geology????? Every time we have ever had a storm through the years I get so irritated with the ignorance of where we are and how they should be pronouncing our islands. It can be very confusing for loved ones watching off island because they are reporting incorrect island names and prediction areas.
Ok, I am sorry but that is all I can say now being stuck up here and nervous about home but I hope you all are safe and comfortable and wish everyone well in all of the islands, even the mis-pronounced ones :-)
I will report any news I receive as I see helpful.
Terrie Pantusco
Caribbean Saloon

- Thanks....
  • From: "Margo Rose" <info at yachtchartersusvi.com>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 18:55:56 -0400

Gert, I so appreciate all your hard work.

When you get a breathing space, I am sorry to ask you to delete me from the correspondents in STT.

I have moved to St. Pete , FL. So, don’t bother with me....but I sure kept a lot of friends/ personal and professional, and my thoughts are with them tonite.

All the best,


Margo Rose

Slip Aweigh Charters, Inc.

3801 Crown Bay, Ste. 203

St. Thomas VI 00802

US Toll Free Phone/Fax 1.866.297.0163

Local Cell: 1.340.513.0518

Email: info at yachtchartersusvi.com

Website: www.yachtchartersusvi.com


Member,  Charter Yacht Brokers Association and Virgin Islands Charteryacht League




- Almost Dark ,Waiting for Omar
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 17:59:07 -0400
Around noon, right after the solar panels came down off the roof, the rain began again.
With so much saturation in past weeks it was a matter of minutes before it was pooling
in the courtyard and running off the back wall again. Rain tapered off this afternoon
into a constant sprinkling and it is an amazing amount of water that continues to come
in the falls off the top and thru the cracks of the retaining wall.  Our local news reports
some roads closed or collapsed on the eastern side of the island. 
Finally after making the rounds in the yard and taking the dogs for another tip toe thru
the puddles it seems we are ready.  Visual reports show Omar moving east then north
then east again, weirdly tracking from the wrong direction.  This feels like a major rain
event and the good news is that Omar has decided to move along a little faster.
The dogs and cats are snug inside and amazed at the plant life that has taken up all
the space in the house.  We live most of our life outside with walls that open up to
the view.  Bringing our outside life inside makes for a crowded little jungle hut.  The
good news is that there were enough ripe limes that needed rescuing to make 
margaritas.  The starfruit tree is really loaded up so before nightfall, I'll take one more trip
outside to collect them.  Have you ever grilled a starfruit? tastes like granny smith apple
The government has set the curfew for 6pm and all should be settled in by now. Stay
safe and dry and keep reporting, thanks again to Gert for this fantastic tool that helps
us all so much.
Jane Higgins in Fortuna Falls, West End St Thomas
jhigginswear at islands.vi

- Are they crazy?
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 08:32:40 -0400
Looking out to the north on the Atlantic side I just saw a small motor yacht heading toward Puerto Rico,
hope it is just the Captain on board, you'd have to be a lunatic to take your family along on a boat trip today.
It is very cloudy, sprinkling, humid, and the clouds seem to be layers on layers.  It is way too still.
I'm fretting over silly things like the orchids I tied to the trees and the  one that is finally blooming. Oh well.

- Ensenada Honda, Vieques
  • From: "sue russell" <sue at caribbeansoulcharters.com>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 08:19:16 -0400

Greetings from soggy Vieques.


We made it in last night after dark in the middle of a rain band and I must say I burned some calories navigating around the reefs in the dark. The boys were at the helm and we our track and  rhum lines were the same. Did this just before Marilyn too. Will we ever learn?


There are 5 boats from STT out here in the Bay and another on the way. Can’t see the other creeks from here to know if anyone is hidden away. Getting ready to go into the mangroves as it’s high tide. Will try to check in later but much to do today!


Wishing all safe harbor,




Sue Wilbar Russell

Caribbean Soul Charters

340.690.1121 (Local)

877.432.6700 (Toll Free & Fax)

P.O. Box 6382

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 00804

Please refer to my informative website at  www.caribbeansoulcharters.com


- Early to Rise
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 06:19:02 -0400
I notice my island neighbors were up early this morning writing their reports. I've been
up since 4am just  checking some sites, and at really slow mo speeds.  All day yesterday and
last night netted about a half inch of sprinkles.  A few shutters are in place and all will be
finished within a few hours.  It is the waiting around and not knowing for sure what is coming
that can drive you abit batty, but being prepared  can make the difference between
another long day or a mess.  Please stay in touch and take great care.
Jane Higgins from the moldy damp west end of St Thomas

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 10:10:17 -0400
Good Morning,
We have been the lucky ones so far this storm season. Many Haitians are still struggling with
the remnants of  massive rainfall events over these last few months while the daily feat
of getting something to eat may seem insurmountable. Please contact www.haitisupport.org
to send a donation.  We have to remember that there are many  island neighbors still in need
and at the same time we have to pay attention to what this slow moving hazard can bring to
us in the Virgin Islands. 
The last 24 hours show at least 9 inches of rain in gauge in our little jungle hut on the West end
of St Thomas in Estate Fortuna.  Memories of Hortense and wrong way Lenny are clear now. 
The hillside behind our house produced massive waterfalls over the retaining walls
and made the courtyard into a wading pool yesterday.  The rain was so heavy at times that
the view to the ocean and neighbors was blocked by a solid wall of moisture.  It cleared up
enough in the early evening to download the outside  cistern and the overflowing pool back into
the auxiliary cistern. Around midnight the thundering waterfalls were back and I was up rolling
windows down, checking to see how high the water was along the back wall of the house
and clearly expecting something to give. The power of the water running down and around
our house was so loud, two pillows over my head helped block out the flowing  noise, only
to push me into dreaming that our house was floating away. 
This morning it has been cloudy with no rain, enough time now to download the pool again,
clear out the water path  in the back of the house and get some more deck clearing done.
Do not try to second guess this powerful blob of weather, stationary or near stationary
storms are scarier to me than a faster moving storm.  Prepare for the worst; prepare for flooding;
and you'll be ready for anything.  There is no reason to think this storm is going somewhere else
but right on top of us. 
Driving in St. Thomas on a dry day is a challenge with so many potholes and risky slopes and
poorly maintained roads.  Driving in St. Thomas yesterday near town and Havensight was a
huge mess for many . Schools are closed today in anticipation of more of the same, I applaud
the authorities for taking pre-cautions.  If you don't have to drive , just don't, there are downed
limbs, piles of mud and rocks on our roads now.
Stay safe and dry.  Be as prepared as you can be. 
Again, I implore pet owners to think hard about leaving your animals out in these storms.  Listening
to the whining and barking of dogs left on chains or outside in the mud and rain, terrified of
the thunder and lightening is the cruelest sound of all.  You shouldn't have  pets at all if you
cannot treat them with the care and safety that you would treat your children.  Your children will
learn your habits and more generations of ignored and abused animals  will follow.
Best of luck and many thoughts to my friends in Anguilla, the BVI, and the A,B,C islands, send us
reports on www.stormcarib. , we are all in this together. 
Jane Higgins in rainy St. Thomas

- From the good ship Verity
  • From: "sue russell" <sue at caribbeansoulcharters.com>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 00:08:19 -0400

Hi All ,


It was a hell of a day at sea today!


We left Culebrita at 11:00 Am just after some fierce squalls had passed through and had a (no lie) 15 foot breaking wave among the mostly 8-12 foot swells just outside the entrance. Our friends lost their water pump soon after and put up all their sheets and sailed as best they could to leeward of us toward Sail Rock. Just as we became a bit complaisant and turned on the tunes, a huge cloud bank formed to our south closer to our friends. It did not move to the south and west as expected but came at us from the south to the north. Our friends got it first and they blasted past us doing 6+ knots over the ground (we were motoring with reefed main).


We had 25+ knots as we closed in on the west end of St Thomas (Savannah Island with all her nasty pointy rocks) and the vis went to zero. Just moments (literally before this) our friend Lenny called to tell us that a TS was forming to our west and was due over STT on Wed!!! We had plenty to deal with at the time and bashed blindly into the rain and spiky wind. After several hours,  out of nowhere the storm went from blasting to a cleared view and we spotted our friends with the bad pump. We’d trashed our hand held radio and they called by cell phone to say they were becalmed next to the airport jettee and were drifting toward it.


We went to them and took them under tow and it’s a happy ending with cocktails on the foredeck and a dram for the “above”. Then we turned on the internet. Our respite seems short….


What we had was the first rainband from TD 15 and we will make our decision to head to Vieques tomorrow at 5:30 AM before we send the kids to school.


Late. Hope everyone stays well.




Sue Wilbar Russell

Caribbean Soul Charters

340.690.1121 (Local)

877.432.6700 (Toll Free & Fax)

P.O. Box 6382

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 00804

Please refer to my informative website at  www.caribbeansoulcharters.com


Attachment: 134_3446.JPG
Description: JPEG image

- TS Storm watch
  • From: ronusvi at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2008 16:52:05 -0400
We are now under Tropical Storm watch. It been raining like crazy yesterday and today. Doubt it's going to let up until the weekend!

Ronnie Lockhart

- Deoesn't look good.
  • From: ronusvi at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2008 15:38:34 -0400
Looks like TD 15 will become Omar and be here as a Cat 1 on Wednesday. Vitema just let out and getting ready to make their announcements I suspect. Stay tumed

Ronnie Lockhart

- About Last Night
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 04:42:37 -0400
I was stuck in a major traffic jam last night right before sundown and had plenty of time to witness the weather going into
manic mode along the waterfront in downtown St. Thomas. The sea was wildly choppy and coming over the sea wall. Wondering
if the salt spray was going to hit the car was a small issue, but the wind picked up  and table umbrellas, and what wasn't tied
down blew circular and then smack into the other stuff flying around.  The sky turned charcoal and puffed up with attitude.  
What started out to be an easy 20 minute drive turned into a sluggish 75 minute jam up. The skies, the wind, the sea turned
me in the opposite direction; back home and just as I pulled into my little country path one of the many stormy clouds above
let loose. 
Now this morning at 4am the feel of more weather coming has me up checking the radar maps.  Looks like more of the same
for today. 
Ike is well formed and hot to get to Hanna and staying north.  Let's just hope Ike decides to go fishing in the mid Atlantic
and not hurt anyone. 
Jane Higgins
St Thomas US Virgin Islands
Moving Fair and Green Trade Forward in the Caribbean
jhigginswear at islands.vi

- Hanna
  • From: PANTUSCO at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 19:16:03 EDT
Taken Just after 6pm today above Secret Harbor Beach on the East End. We got a "big" splash of heavy rains and winds this morning for several hours. Has been just very overcast all day and now the bands are coming back through. The dark circling clouds almost looked like what you see before a tornado. I welcome the rain but hope all of these storms avoid as much direct impact on land as possible!
Terrie Pantusco

It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.

- circular wind, low ceiling
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 11:22:38 -0400
It has been a long morning .. Now it is getting  very windy, I'm seeing some treetops move that I haven't seen
move in a while.  So I'm going to go back out there and start moving deck things in closer.  Just watched a tiny boat fully
loaded with folks take off to Cricket Island, then the island itself disappeared in the cloud.  Anyone flying or boating
right now without a really valid reason may be loco.  Please stay in touch P.R., D.R. , Vieques and Culebra, we need to
know what is coming.
Times like these you wish for the coconut man to come take the coconuts. 
Jane Higgins
St Thomas US Virgin Islands
Moving Fair and Green Trade Forward in the Caribbean
jhigginswear at islands.vi

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 08:34:48 -0400
About 10 minutes ago we went from grey to black, very low hanging clouds, winds rounding
the house from all directions, plenty of thunder , and huge drops of rain. The temperature
just dropped by 5 degrees, it appears that Hanna is sliding eastward......very rare .
Signing off and closing down computer as this thing passes.  Take care and be safe today.
Wishing Hanna would just get over herself and get out of here!
My dogs are drooling and shaking while the cats just snooze. Oh to be feline in nature, what
a gift that would be .
Jane Higgins
St Thomas US Virgin Islands
Moving Fair and Green Trade Forward in the Caribbean
jhigginswear at islands.vi

- Hanna Splashes Back
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 15:05:16 -0400
Good Afternoon Islanders,
We've had plenty of rain now, up to about 4 '' in the wine bucket in the last few days, steely
skies and a coolness in the air make it seem almost like winter.  As other island dwellers have
written; we do get a little blue when the skies are grey.  We are just too used to sunshine.
Our hearts go out again to those under the deluge of Hanna, looks like way too much moisture for
parts of Haiti and the D.R. and of course the Bahamas.  Very slow forward movement in Hanna
has created the splash back that we are getting here in St. Thomas.  We are in for a rainy week,
looks like Ike and Josephine may go north of us; hoping for all to stay safe and dry.
Haitians please stay in touch, let us know what we can do to help.  Are there any organizations
taking donations of dry goods and food?  Please post any sites that you think would help us help you.
Jane Higgins  Thomas US Virgin Islands
Moving Fair and Green Trade Forward in the Caribbean
jhigginswear at islands.vi

- Ike
  • From: RonUSVI at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 22:52:56 EDT
Seems like he is in a hurry! Still tracking North of us. Hope it stays that way.
Ronnie Lockhart
The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace
The Villa Fairview

The Villa Fairview

It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.

- TD 9
  • From: RonUSVI at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 16:10:22 EDT
Not getting excited but, with all the hurricane buzz going on, I just wanted to say that as far as I see, TD 9 will pass to the north of us. We have spawned two storms so far that both gave us much needed rain before becoming a TD. Faye and Gustav. Hopefully our season will continue this way. Sorry for those in the Gulf today and maybe the South where Hanna is heading?
Ronnie Lockhart
The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace
The Villa Fairview

The Villa Fairview

It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.

- Read and Heed, Dave is Right
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 06:58:46 -0400
As  islanders looking on while our fellow Caribbean's cleanup or face Gustav's gouging
we can only say again, if you have a chance to drive away from a storm DO IT NOW....don't wait
to be trapped in a huge traffic jam. Go , Go , Go.....don't wait for a government to order you to
use common sense.  Unlike mainlanders, most of us in the islands have to ride out these storms,
if you have a choice to be safe, dry and out of harm's way don't question if you should or not,
you are responsible for making the right choice.
It's been a night of off and on thunder boomers and flashes of electricity to remind us of what
the islands west of us are going thru.  Shame on my neighbors that leave their dogs tied to
trees  outside without shelter.  The steady barking that turns to whimpering cries during the worst
of the thunder is harder to listen to then the  hurricane updates. Why do you have pets?
To leave them to the terror of storm season? Do you think your children are learning good
life lessons by how you treat your captive dogs and goats.  If you cannot provide safe ,dry
shelters for your animals then let your local Humane Society find caring homes . Don't muddy
your own karma by caring so little for other living things.  We remember how desperately missed
and loved pets were left behind in Katrina, let's hope provisions are made in advance for them
this time.
We have had inches of rain off and on in the last two days and plenty of humidity along with the
survivor's guilt that stays with us all during stormy times.  Worrying  about what is ahead and
how many of our fellow humans are left in the path of what has  and what is coming.  Looking
to Africa it is hard to imagine that we won't board up at least once in the next few weeks. Everyday
brings a review of the preparedness list.  Dave reminded  us this week that our dangerous window
historically is coming up. How can we forget past Septembers?
Please let us know what you need and how you are doing sweet Jamaica.  My Cayman's report
does not seem to come up this morning, please update us and let us hope that the western tip
of Cuba is ready. 
There is a huge sense of relief in being prepared and then having a storm veer away or not be
as bad as we thought, it is a giddy feeling. Let's hope for giddy and be prepared for the worst,
let's have that relief roll off of us and look forward to this stormy season being over soon .
Read and heed  Dave's report, we have activity all over the map and more soon come. 
Jane Higgins in the dripping rain forest of Fortuna, St Thomas  
jhigginswear at islands.vi

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 17:27:11 -0400
There is guilt in being relieved that we don't have to face GUSTAV.
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION ....all of you in or near the guessed paths...it seems that the tracks are changing
by the half hour.  Gustav is the wake up call for the entire Caribbean and Gulf regions.  Fay continues to
break trail for Gustav and history tells us that storms follow each other thru  warmed up water.
Please pay attention now; the components are right for Gustav to create big problems for
allot of folks in different terrains.  The ground saturated by Fay will be a tough receiver if visited again.
Our hearts go out to those without  decent shelter from the storms. Help your neighbors by being
prepared and having enough on hand to share.
If you live in an area where you can drive away from a storm, take the trip now; if you plan on visiting
anywhere in Gustav's path ; think twice.
Those of you that choose to visit the Caribbean during storm season should not be surprised by
leaden skies; heavy humidity ; high seas and tense locals.  There is a reason for "off" season; or
an entire alphabet of reasons.  We love having you visit but come  prepared for anything. 
This is the hardest time of the year for us to be the bright and cheery hosts we try to be.  Understand
that many small hotels and restaurants are closed down during late August till early October.
Stay safe and informed.  Make sure those around you  without  communication tools understand
what could be coming.  Be over prepared . Let us know how you are doing and if we can help.
Warm humid sticky tropical regards,
Jane Higgins  , in the drippy rainforest called FORTUNA in West End St Thomas

- About Last Night
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 10:36:41 -0400
    We watched all the cable network weather reports, waiting to hear Fay named, expecting a wild night,
and wondering why a certain weather man in the states protests so much about NOT having a hurricane to chase.
He literally compared this "failed" storm to receiving a much anticipated Christmas gift that disappointed. Can
you believe it?  The whole concept of being frustrated with NOT having a named storm is so inhuman, can't
we say we really got lucky?
Around 11:20 last night it all really started, the pressure must have dropped abit as my ears were hurting, then
the lightening and thunder followed.  It was way out there to the Northeast, and not reminiscent of other times
when storms have literally hatched over our heads. Thanks for the rain, at least 5 inches in the gauge this morning,
 it is quite sticky and overcast now, we'll take it and the plants are happy now.  Hoping that the mountains
to the West of us break this storm up, there was little wind here. 
Stay safe and dry.  The weedeater will get a major workout soon.
Jane Higgins
Hazy Fortuna Facing the Atlantic on the Northwest side of St Thomas
jhigginswear at islands.vi

- Here it is!
  • From: RonUSVI at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 22:54:47 EDT
Rained a little bit this afternoon. Thunder and lightning as I type. Guess we are in for a rainy night!
Ronnie Lockhart
The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace
The Villa Fairview

The Villa Fairview

Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits in your budget? Read reviews on AOL Autos.

- Blue Sky is not a friend today
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 09:13:42 -0400
Good Morning,
As you can see from Dave's report the dust is leaving us ; the blue sky proves the dust is gone and now
we are vulnerable to what will pass over, hoping for JUST RAIN please.  It is hot hot hot, and the Atlantic
has picked up abit.  The ten huge drops of rain we had this morning around 5:30am came in sideways.
The wind is picking up and coming from several directions, the plants are arching up  for moisture .
Stay in touch down islanders and let us know how it is going. 
I cleaned out the hurricane room yesterday and just that bit of organization makes looking forward in this
season a little easier.
The sugar birds are loading up, a good sign we'll have a stormy day.

- It's hot!
  • From: RonUSVI at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 16:32:38 EDT
It's been really hot these past three days. Something is sucking our breezes away. Hopefully this Invest93 will just pass us by with some rain! Keeping my eyes open.
Ronnie Lockhart
The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace
The Villa Fairview

The Villa Fairview

Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits in your budget? Read reviews on AOL Autos.

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 09:50:53 -0400
Good Morning Island Dwellers,
Looking at the map this morning gives  some relief from worries this week, but it  is time to clear the decks;
fill the pantry, test the batteries, and continue ticking off those projects on our storm watch lists.  Looking at mid
August as spring cleaning time will lower the stress and rush when the real scare comes down the road.  This
train from Africa is not going to go away and we all know our odds.  We continue to prepare for losing our
electricity in any weather; as the dependence on fossil fuels in our antiquated power systems in the Caribbean
become a daily challenge.  Harvesting the sun and wind is our answer; we all know it.    Why haven't our
power companies figured it out? 
Look to the East and be ready.  Happiness can be measured by readiness.
We had some good rains last week, and are ready for more.  It has been really hot in the wake of what is coming
to visit; and a breeze has picked up this morning.  You can begin to see the protective layer of Sahara dust
thin out; there is some horizon out there.

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 15:40:30 -0400
Sometimes we just get lucky; sometimes it is serendipity; and yesterday was a miracle window of
weather and geological events between Tuesday's  ash fall from Montserrat and today's rapidly
moving power showers, Wednesday was as good as it can get in the middle of sultry summer.
In the works for a while was a fashion photography shoot for one of the companies I represent;
the first time taking  photos in the  Virgin Islands for this resortwear line.  We had one
day to do it in; the right   photographer, a great director and fabulous models; even the USPO
cooperated and the show samples  were  received via Express Mail on time!! How lucky can you get?
There were enough showers on Tuesday to bring the ash down and clear the foliage off. 
The frangipani , flamboyant and bougainvillea were  in competition ; the bright colors of
summer flowers  astounding against the newly greened up bush.
Thanks  to the weather gods for today's rain and for holding off for the one day when a clear day
was really needed.  In the last few hours we have received about 3/4" of rain, the sky is heather
gray, there is no horizon and I'm glad to not be sailing or flying today. 
We are all so lucky to live in the place where so many can only visit for such short times in their
lives; looking forward to more rain, the steady drip into the cistern is one of the most cherished
tunes in this house.
Warm tropical regards......Jane Higgins
Northwest St Thomas  overlooking islands called Cockroach and Cricket  (more about
those creatures soon come)

- email addiction and lots of rain
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 13:01:39 -0400
Good Afternoon,
AND MANY THANKS TO THE RAINMAKERS!!!! We just had 2 good steady downpours,
the rain gauge was dry this morning when I watered all the plants, now it is showing 2 inches.
This is glorious news; as the thought of buying anymore water made me crazy.  The wild
parakeets were very close in this morning, drinking from the pool in low fly over formation;
screaming and whining about the very small drought dry genip fruits.  
The sugar and hummingbirds have been draining the feeders at a break neck speed in the
last few days, getting in my face if I don't keep them full; the most obnoxious one is the tiniest
hummingbird with his crest up, I named him helmet head and he seems to be a permanent
fixture here even when the others go on vacation.  We have an open house plan, large shutters
that we close at night, but otherwise all day any critters come visiting; including helmet head
if he doesn't get his feeder filled up in a timely fashion. 
My email has been intermittent since Saturday.....I am totally internet addicted and can't believe
how much it effects my mood; as I wait for the phone company to fix the other line the changing
of the cables in the spaghetti mess behind my desk reveals what hoops I'll go thru to keep the
addiction going.  I'm so glad we have nothing huge on the horizon as trying to really get a good
grip on the weather now absolutely involves a computer and www.stormcarib.  
I heard a report on public radio last night about the blizzard of 1888 and how many died when
2 huge weather systems collided, now I remember why my Grandfather always referred to himself
as a blizzard baby, and it seems impossible to believe that Granddad could be born so long ago.  
With so much information available about the weather and our environment there is no excuse
for being completely prepared.  Best of luck to those near DOLLY.....the rain will be welcome;
and hopefully the flooding won't be as bad as predicted.  Please let us know how you are doing.

- 7 second downour
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 10:01:02 -0400
Good Morning Islanders,
We had one of those (I timed it) 7 second huge downpours early this morning, leaving about
1/8" in the rain gauge (wine bucket), so thanks again to the rain gods, it was enough to keep
the veggies and herbs happy for the day.
It is  cooler and crisper after the rain, and the Sahara dust seems to be moving out. Bluer
skies, puffy clouds and whispering palm trees are  creating  the  Pissaro effect today.
I wonder how Bermuda is doing? , and hoping that the blob in the Caribbean  behaves and
just brings needed  rain.
The July moon has brought out the big fishing boats; a few have raced by the north-side this
morning.  Wishing them all the best of luck.
A seahorse was spotted in the sea grass this week by one of our local diveshops; always a thrill to hear
news about the little ones. I saw seahorses in Dominica once while snorkeling above barrel
sponges that were big enough to crawl into, the seahorse's bouncing  rhythm  seems an odd
gait for an ocean bound critter.  
Stay safe and pay attention; I'm going to top off the hurricane pantry today.
Jane Higgins   from the gorgeous west end of St Thomas

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 09:31:30 -0400
It is a great morning on the west end of St Thomas, at last we have rain.  For about the
last 1/2 hr it has been sprinkle to downpour and back to sprinkle, about 1/4 inch in the
rain gauge (wine bucket that had cobwebs in it!!!) The green life around us is curling up
to catch every drop and sighing with relief.  The sugar and hummingbirds are rolling in
the leaves ; catching a bath, and I will be hanging the just cleaned clothes in the rain.
With energy bills quadrupling in the last year here in the USVI, the dryer stays unplugged
and the hot water heater is allowed to labor only 3 hours a day and still the power bill
is a shock every month.  A big chunk of money was forwarded yesterday to our solar
guy and a solar pool pump will be installed within the next few weeks.  Piecing  apart
our energy consumption into different systems in our house will make this transition
to get off the grid affordable over time and the liberation factor will be priceless. Please
write about your experiences with alternative energy in the Caribbean; this is part of
a larger weather picture; being completely prepared before and after the storms of nature
and the storms created by humans not willing to recognize deteriorating infrastructures.
It is hard to conceive that our power company is 100% dependent on fossil fuels and has
not had improved infrastructure for over a decade.  Sunshine is free and in huge supply
where I live.....how about where you live? 
Great to hear that Bermuda is back in the business of sun and fun today .  Looking
at the next system; let's hope for more rain and little wind. 
Stay safe and prepared. 

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2008 09:50:41 -0400
Good Morning,

We are having some slight showers; very warm and humid, and the Sahara dust comes and goes. The photo attached depicts a view from the very western end of St Thomas, a preserve called BOTANY BAY, it is incredible; historic, and being developed. We hope the developers follow their promises and keep it as astoundingly beautiful as it was on Sunday when this picture was taken. Literally hundreds of hermit crabs were on a march of some kind; gathering in groups, rolling over as we neared. We found golden Julie mangoes scattered on the ground and the big purple grafted mangoes were hanging low in the trees waiting for the perfect ripening. There was soursop, breadfruit, limes and genips everywhere among the old coconut palms resting in their lazy attitudes slung along the beachfront. The old sugar mill ruin is all facade and surface; the end result of so much human labor so long ago. Botany Bay is magic.

Everyday that passes during storm season without a threat is another great day. Stay safe, get to a beach, read that book;
chill out; high season and busy-ness soon come mon.

Jane Higgins
Fortuna, West End , St Thomas
jhigginswear at islands.vi

Attachment: Botany Bay 6-7-08 004.jpg
Description: JPEG image

- another Bertha
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2008 15:02:53 -0400
Good Afternoon,
We are feeling a little "Bertha-ish", very windy gusts up to about 23mph, and the Atlantic
from our deck looks like rough seas 5 to 7 ft.  We remember Bertha from 1996; we were
camping in St John at Cinnamon Bay and some taxi-men told us to be prepared for a storm!
We were shocked by  how  early in the season it was and were caught very un-prepared.  My
airplane mechanic husband was on call with a beeper at that time and was in charge of
6 airplanes; so the rush to pack up and get to the car ferry showed how frantic he really
was.  We made it back in time to St Thomas for him to secure and send off the planes; but
very late in the game to help secure our dwelling.  While I struggled with the plywood shutters
as the wind was starting to pick up, he was driving  home  thru our back farm country on the steep
cement road now littered with hundreds of very ripe mangoes....needless to say; but fun to
report in the aftermath; he literally drove on mango jam all the way home.
I still kiss the ground, the sunrise, the sunset and the sea everyday; we are the lucky ones; and
we are prepared for what nature brings. 
We are working on going all solar; a long-term dream that must become reality soon with rising
power bills.  First step for us is the solar pool pump; so if any of you out there have any experience
or advise about going solar ; please include some information in your reports.  Looking forward
to being prepared and energy independence can be  a central theme to our readers.   Now that
Gert has some sponsors I hope some solar and alternative energy sources will join them in supporting
Thanks again Gert for this valuable site; it keeps us informed and sane thru the storm season.

- a little bit
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2008 08:01:12 -0400
We had about 1/8" rain last night (wine bucket) in the rain
gauge, enough to cool things off ......hoping for more....thinking
about the last Bertha  in July of 96....she was quite a surprise.
Take care and let us know what kind of weather you are getting down island.

- Water Truck Comes Twice in One Day
  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2008 22:25:12 -0400
We are dry dry dry in western St Thomas, our water truck mon came to our rescue early this morning, winding his
way down our tiny dirt road and was interrupted from proceeding by an ill parked car in the road.  No one responded
to the banging on the doors and he turned around and left us behind high and dry; he made the second trip up the steepest
hill in St Thomas to hydrate us  after  some calls and maneuvering of vehicles.  When it doesn't come from the sky
we welcome  the water truck on the roughest tightest turn arounds on our small pitted roads. Many thanks again
to our exhausted water truck driver.  I can't imagine the stress he is  under, and the extra cost of fuel now hurting his
bottom line every mile.     
All  of you down south please let us know if rain soon come, buying water is against our grain!
St John Carnival is this weekend, tomorrow is Emancipation Day; the most important day in our island's history; and
Friday the other important day in our nation's history. Happy Independence Day, let's cherish it; and hope for a safe
storm season to come.  Independence is the word for what we need to do to  be completely prepared for whatever comes.

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2008 08:36:40 -0400
Good Morning,
After waiting all weekend for the  needed forecasted rain, a few  gusty car wash
blasts of showers moved thru and left us with about 1/4 ", plants blew over on the deck,
and there were probably a few iffy landings at the airport.  Finally last night it all let loose,
including the drool from our Audrey dog as the thunder and lightening went  wild.  We
had loads of rain and heavy enough to make it to the cistern, about another inch and
1/2 out here in Fortuna.  The foliage has uncurled and brightened up, and you can feel
the relief.  We were COLD last night when the first big blasts of thunder were booming;
the temperature crashed suddenly and the Gods were bowling strikes. Hopefully the
water mon can relax now for a while.  It is still gusting like crazy, it will be interesting to see
the arrangement on the deck after this wind dies down. 
Jane Higgins on the Northwest side of St Thomas,
facing the Atlantic at about 600 ft up the hill....

- Lightning and Thunder!!
  • From: RonUSVI at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 19:57:49 EDT
And rain happening now! Hope it fills my cisterns tonight!
Ronnie Lockhart
The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace
The Villa Fairview

The Villa Fairview

Gas prices getting you down? Search AOL Autos for fuel-efficient used cars.

- That time again
  • From: RonUSVI at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2008 09:32:44 EDT
Well, I guess it's time to start giving some reports. Been hearing about a system going by. It's been windy the past few days with a little rain in between. On Friday, a quick wind storm passed trough in less than ten minutes blowing down a tree or two and ripping the giant tent my brother's team had just erected the day before for the Relay for Life cancer walk last night. Then last night, what promised to be a nice night for walking the relay, was nice with gentle breezes until the skies opened up a little after midnight! That went on for  half hour or so, then no more. It didn't dampen the spirit of some of the walkers and runners as they trudged along in the downpour.
This morning is bright and sunny with some gust of wind still going on.
Enjoy the weekend!
Ronnie Lockhart
The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace
The Villa Fairview

The Villa Fairview

Gas prices getting you down? Search AOL Autos for fuel-efficient used cars.

  • From: "Jane Higgins" <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:34:32 -0400
Here on the Northwest side of St Thomas in Fortuna, facing the Atlantic, skies are very grey,
seas are up and choppy, and the wind is kicking.  We can only wish  that the water trucks
can stay home and rest; we have been so very dry this year.  The fruits and veggies are begging
for some rain, and the cistern sounds hollow.  Let's hope for the best....looking forward to
this blob on the map today.  Sorry to hear of Ms.Mermaid's fever, are you better now?

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