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- Sargassum: The Good, the Bad and the Smelly | St. Thomas Source
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2018 07:54:43 -0400
Title: Sargassum: The Good, the Bad and the Smelly | St. Thomas Source
The good news is.....deep corals are thriving and our sea temperature is down.
https://stthomassource.com/content/2018/06/23/sargassum-the-good-the-bad-and-the-smelly/

Sargassum: The Good, the Bad and the Smelly

Sargassum is breaking down near Coki Point, seen above, and Margaritaville, and creating a serious smell. (Photo by Alain M. Brin, Blue Glass Photography)
Sargassum is breaking down near Coki Point, seen above, and Margaritaville, and creating a serious smell. (Photo by Alain M. Brin, Blue Glass Photography)

You don’t have to see it to know it’s here. The brown sea grass called Sargassum has made a grand entrance into the territory. And it smells.

It started as a nuisance in 2011 when the volume grew considerably. Seven years later, the combination of global warming, pollution and hurricanes formed the perfect conditions for it to grow and prosper. When it gets to land and decomposes, the sulfur-like stench can be overwhelming.

Like many other scientists, Tyler Smith, a marine biologist at the University of the Virgin Islands, is eager to find out the secrets of these floating islands.

“The tremendous amount of grass that has entered our waters seems to have come up from the coast of Brazil and from the Sargasso Sea, a two-million square mile area at the Bermuda Triangle,” Smith said.

This sea without borders is confined by the North Atlantic Gyre, a set of currents that move water around the ocean.

“An estimated 10 million tons of grass, sometimes three to five feet thick, is gathered in this location,” Smith said, adding that scientists believes “the trifecta of warmer waters, pollution and storms conspired to increase the volume and send much of it our way. It is the most we’ve ever seen.”

Sargassum is nothing new. Christopher Columbus is said to have sailed through the thick of it in 1492. Until recently, it was simply a minor feature among the flotsam of the sea.
The situation today gives marine biologists the opportunity to study the grasses in depth and its effect on coral.

“Our post-hurricane monitoring is ongoing at 32 sites from 19 to 220 feet (in depth) and it is our best look at coral ever. The good news is that it is unlikely to harm our corals, perhaps excepting some small, shallow coves,” Smith said. “Our colonies at 100 plus feet are surprisingly healthy. The large reef we study in Brewers Bay is thriving. The storms have lowered the deep water temperatures and that will hopefully be a boost to the coral and a bust to hurricane formation.”

Marine scientist Blair Worthington compared the sargassum and ocean to their seeming opposite.

“The open sea is like a desert and Sargassum is an oasis in that desert,” Worthington said.

The grass provides food, refuge and breeding grounds for turtles, sea birds and crabs and is a nursery for Mahi-Mahi. This habitat available because it floats at the surface thanks to the small, gas-filled “berries” that adorn the branches.

Another benefit is its use in pharmaceutical research (it has been used in Chinese medicine since the 8th Century) and as an important ingredient in biofuel. The grass also helps in the formation of dunes by catching and holding blowing sand.

On the negative side, Sargassum often carries bacteria that can cause irritation in allergic humans, and might be a support system for the invasive species of lionfish. The prolific intruders decimate the local reef fish. Their population is being held in check by the human harvesters who target the species and offer them for sale to restaurants. The lionfish is gaining repute as a delicacy for its tasty white flesh, similar to the butterfish.

The grass should have no effect on ciguatera, the toxin found in small reef fish. Incidents of fish poisoning in the territory have remained at approximately 12 cases per thousand for several years.

Finally, the last but not least negative is its dizzying smell of rotting fish.


- Red, pink, purple sunset
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2018 19:33:45 -0400
This really was very colorful a few minutes ago but iPad only caught this. More 
moisture
soon come.

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- Mother Nature
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2018 09:09:55 -0400
Her gifts are all around us. Today’s catch.

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- Coral Bay Survey Finds Two Thirds of Respondents Feel Unprepared for 2018 Storm Season | St. Thomas Source
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2018 08:31:30 -0400
Title: Coral Bay Survey Finds Two Thirds of Respondents Feel Unprepared for 2018 Storm Season | St. Thomas Source

Coral Bay Survey Finds Two Thirds of Respondents Feel Unprepared for 2018 Storm Season

Emmaus Moravian Church in Coral Bay after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Emmaus Moravian Church in Coral Bay after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

A full two thirds of respondents to an online survey conducted by the Coral Bay Community Council say they don’t feel prepared for the 2018 hurricane season that began at the start of June.

Coral Bay, St. John, was one of the areas of the areas in the Virgin Islands hardest hit by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. With predictions calling for an average to active 2018 storm season, the CBCC created its 24-question survey in May with the goal of finding out where things stand with Coral Bay residents, many of whom said they felt neglected in the aftermath of Irma and Maria.

The survey included questions about homes and infrastructure, priorities, ratings of assistance and insurance, and personal situations and long-term goals.

“We wanted to get the complete results out as fast as possible,” said CBCC’s president Sharon Coldren. “We hope the information will be useful and inspiring to government agencies, relief organizations and individuals in prioritizing actions we can take.”

More than 60 percent of the survey’s 178 respondents were full time residents of St. John, with the rest a mixture of winter residents, repeat visitors, and vacation rental owners.

According to the most recent U.S. census of the Virgin Islands, 634 people resided in the Coral Bay subdistrict in 2010, with another 51 people residing on the island’s east end, where residents were also invited to participate in the CBCC survey.

More than 70 percent of respondents to the CBCC survey were over the age of 55.

A news release from the CBCC said the survey results were divided into full time residents, vacation rental owners and business owners to see if there was a difference in perspectives on the recovery among those groups.

“There are some differences in perspectives, but overall people have the same priorities,” the release states.

Unsurprisingly, the survey found that almost all respondents suffered some damage to their homes and business in 2017’s back-to-back category 5 storms. But, while only 33 percent said they feel prepared to face down another storm, nearly 70 percent reported they are making steady recovery progress, and only 12 percent say they have no safe place to stay during any storms that might arrive in 2018.

However, 36 percent of respondents said they have no reliable way to reach 911 today due to lack of any reliable communications at their home – cell, internet or landline. According to the CBCC this is also making rental owners nervous for their visitors, who cannot use their cell phones due to currently limited service areas.

The survey found that debris removal remains a pressing concern in the Coral Bay area – both to avoid the debris causing damage in future storms, and to put on a good face for tourism. About 88 percent of respondents said removal of debris piles from roadsides is still an immediate need nine months after the hurricanes, while 76 percent said removal of debris from private property is an immediate need.

Respondents did not rank their experiences with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) highly. Over half ranked their FEMA experiences as poor, partially OK, or OK, while only 23 percent ranked their experiences as pretty good or excellent.

CBCC itself received high marks from respondents for its efforts to help in Coral Bay’s recovery. More than 85 percent rated the assistance given by CBCC after the hurricanes as pretty good or excellent.

“More analysis and the open-ended comments may be added to the website and in future reports later, and we are happy to discuss detailed responses with anyone trying to assist in our overall recovery,” Coldren said.

The results of CBCC’s survey can be viewed at: https://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/hurricane-recovery-2/survey-hurricane-recovery-status-update-for-coral-bay-st-john-may-2018/

More information is available by contacting Sharon Coldren, CBCC at 340-513-4298.


- San Juan Radar | Weather Underground
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2018 19:55:02 -0400
SJU Radar is back
https://www.wunderground.com/weather-radar/united-states/pr/san-juan/jua/


- El Niño Watch Issued: Chance of El Niño Conditions Developing Increases During Upcoming Fall, Winter | The Weather Channel
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2018 13:06:47 -0400
Title: El Niño Watch Issued: Chance of El Niño Conditions Developing Increases During Upcoming Fall, Winter | The Weather Channel

El Niño Watch Issued: Chance of El Niño Conditions Developing Increases During Upcoming Fall, Winter

Possible El Niño by This Winter

At a Glance

  • NOAA has issued an El Niño watch.
  • This means that conditions are favorable for the development of El Nino conditions within the next six months.
  • This could impact the Atlantic hurricane season and weather in the U.S. this winter.

An El Niño watch was issued in the latest outlook from NOAA, indicating an increasing chance for El Niño conditions to develop later this year.

NOAA indicates that ENSO-neutral conditions (neither La Niña or El Niño) will likely last through this summer, with the chance of an El Niño increasing to 50 percent during the fall and 65 percent during winter 2018-19.

(MORE: Warm Water Creeps Eastward in the Pacific)

ENSO-neutral conditions have been in place this spring, meaning sea-surface temperatures across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific have been close to average, and as mentioned, are expected to remain in place into this summer.

Areas in yellow indicate where water temperatures are warmer than average and areas in blue are indicate colder-than-average temperatures.

As a reminder, the criteria for El Niño conditions are that the average sea-surface temperatures in a region of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific known as Niño 3.4 need to be at least 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer than average in the preceding month and the anomaly has persisted or is expected to persist for three consecutive months. In addition, the atmosphere over the tropical Pacific also needs to exhibit certain characteristics.

Over the past four weeks equatorial water temperatures were near average across most of the Pacific Ocean, with the exception of the western Pacific, which has continued to have above-average water temperatures.

Water temperatures in the far eastern equatorial Pacific remain slightly cooler-than-average, but as shown in the map below, the change from early May to early June has been an increase in temperature.

Changes in water temperature anomalies are shown from May 9, 2018, to June 6, 2018. Areas in orange and red are where sea-surface temperature anomalies have increased and areas in blue are where the sea-surface temperatures have decreased over this period.
(NOAA)

Recently there has been a build-up of heat within the tropical Pacific Ocean, NOAA noted in its outlook. This would support a gradual development of El Niño conditions.

In addition, positive subsurface temperature anomalies have strengthened and expanded across the equatorial Pacific over the past two months, the NOAA report notes.

The majority of computer models indicate that El Niño conditions become most likely during the upcoming fall and winter.

The probability of El Niño conditions developing increase during the fall and winter, as shown by the red bars.
(NOAA)

What Does This Mean For U.S. Weather?

If El Niño conditions were to develop, there are implications to the weather in the U.S.

First, if an El Niño pattern were to emerge this fall during the Atlantic hurricane season the number of tropical cyclones that develop could be suppressed.

(MORE: 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook)

When El Niño is in place during hurricane season, stronger-than-average upper-level winds develop over portions of the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, possible tropical cyclones are torn apart.

However, there are other factors that contribute to the number of named storms that develop, so a developing El Niño does not mean there will be fewer storms.

El Niño conditions can result in an increase in wind shear over portions of the tropical Atlantic, impacting tropical cyclone formation.

If El Niño conditions are present during the winter, the jet stream pattern over the U.S. shifts and can result in a wetter-than-average winter across the southern tier of the U.S., including portions of California. 

During an El Niño winter temperatures are also typically cooler-than-average from the southern Plains into the Southeast and warmer-than-average from eastern Alaska into western and central Canada and into the Pacific Northwest, northern Plains and Midwest.

The strength of the El Niño plays an important role in impacts across the U.S., including in the tropical Atlantic. At this point, it is too early to know when an El Niño pattern may develop and how strong it might be.


- We Have Horizon
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2018 08:12:38 -0400
Good Gorgeous Morning, 
A bit of rain cleared some Sahara dust and we have the crispest horizon line in 
a week.
The solar panels are still deck side making energy and waiting for the solar 
guy and
circuits to be reinstalled rooftop. Being off the grid reminds us that we can 
collect sun
anywhere any daytime, not necessarily always on a roof. The roofers in the 
neighborhood are racing Mother Nature to finish. 

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- Current : Dolphinarium Site Picture of Water Bay
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2018 11:12:09 -0400

Sargassum devastation on East End of St Thomas 

Here is a current picture of the site where dolphinarium is being built, not fit for dolphins or humans....









- Sargassum Inundates Some V.I. Beaches | St. Thomas Source
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2018 04:42:44 -0400
Warmer seas. We see Islands of Sargassum floating by our Northwest view 
,Fortuna, 
St Thomas. 
https://stthomassource.com/content/2018/06/07/sargassum-inundates-some-v-i-beaches/


- At Last.....Flip A Switch
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2018 09:31:10 -0400
June 1 brought the beginning of storm season and wiring to our house after 
more than 8 months of using extension cords from our solar inverter. We have 
been lucky
enough to have a fridge ,fan , a few lights, pump and washer since a week after 
the storms.
Now we have a new roof and can flip  a switch . We all have a long way to go . 
Being prepared to 
survive the next storm is the necessity now. Making sure we take care of our 
neighbors will make
us better islanders.

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- Dumpsite fire is VI’s biggest ever, DWM says - BVI Beacon
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at gmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 08:53:45 -0400

My throat has been burning since Monday night. We smell something like burning
tires. Sure enough the article says the smoke is reaching western St Thomas.
Last night was coughing til about 3 am. Now laryngitis, can't talk. Those with asthma 
need to stay inside. 

Hoping the rain will tamp this down . The windy conditions don't help.
Dumpster fires are not new after the storms. Most of the islands have experienced 
them over the years due to mismanagement of debris. The collective mountains 
of broken building materials mixed with deadly chemicals and plastics from 
our crisis in September have exacerbated the problem. 

This is all about human imprints, weather, non sustainable consumer waste.
Our tourism departments need to pressure our governments to face this issue.
Subject: Dumpsite fire is VI’s biggest ever, DWM says - BVI Beacon


- St. Thomas Fire Official Says End of BVI Blaze Days Away | St. Thomas Source
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Mon, 14 May 2018 08:49:55 -0400
The NorthEast coast communities of St Thomas and St John are having air quality 
issues
because of the BVI fire. This is all a part of the islands struggling to 
control and 
remove the post storm debris. Any kind of tropical storm will wreck havoc with 
our 
huge debris piles. 
https://stthomassource.com/content/2018/05/12/st-thomas-fire-official-says-end-of-bvi-blaze-days-away/


- Rains Stop Cement Truck
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 9 May 2018 07:05:12 -0400
After months of waiting for the cement truck to be in our road, the heavy rains 
came. 
Can't have everything you want all the time. Glad we finally got gutters. 

- Pissarro Morning in St Thomas
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Mon, 7 May 2018 06:18:49 -0400
This morning's Mother Nature show would have surely inspired our own Camille 
Pissarro .
We are 74 degrees and 87% humidity, a typical tropical Monday.

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- Seagulls and Thunder
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 4 May 2018 18:26:43 -0400
Seagulls were a month early and Thunder barking started this week.
Look at Western Africa tossing a wave our way. 



- Morning Showers Energize 2018 J’ouvert | St. Thomas Source
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2018 07:39:19 -0400
Wind and rain, just a reminder .....we are still rising! 
https://stthomassource.com/content/2018/04/26/morning-showers-energize-2018-jouvert/


- Rainy J'ouvert Morning
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2018 11:14:27 -0400
No need for that water truck. Road March song competition in full swing.
Cool and overcast, perfect Carnival weather on the Waterfront in St Thomas
> 

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> 
> 

- Sargasso weed
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2018 20:38:24 -0400
Yes to Grenada post, more sargasso weed showing up everyday.
It is hot today. Must be summer.
Happy Carnival to all. 


- Aqua Roof Is On
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2018 17:14:17 -0400
It took less then 12 days for our roofing crew from the states to tear  down 
and retrofit 
our roof. It took almost 6 months to line up materials, the plan and the crew. 
Now with double rafters , mega beams tied into everything and four 
roofing layers we are sleeping soundly. As you can see the curly cue trees are 
making a big comeback. Next is rewiring the house, getting the solar panels 
back on the roof,
reconditioning the pool and rebuilding the retaining wall. We are the lucky 
ones, as 
many are still living in uninhabitable homes. 
Have a Happy and safe Carnival. We are cool now with a passing shower.
From the northwest side of St Thomas in Fortuna. 

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> 
> 

- The Roof is On!
  • By Jane Higgins <jhigginswear at islands.vi>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:53:28 -0400
We have a crew from the USA putting up galvalume today .
We have lived in the house during entire process. Yesterday around 5:30pm very 
heavy cold showers, almost felt like hail was next. I see Martinique really did 
have hail. We are so grateful to
have the blue tarp gone. From very green Fortuna on the NorthWest side of St 
Thomas 

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