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Tropical Storm Dorian Will Build To A Category 2 Hurricane … But Not In The USVI

CHRISTIANSTED — A hurricane watch has been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian, where conditions are forecast to begin deteriorating as early as this morning.

At 8:00 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time, the center of Dorian was located near latitude 17.1 North, longitude 64.1 West (over St. Croix), according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Dorian is moving towards the northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue during the next few days.

The center of Dorian already passed directly over St. Croix this morning and will move to Puerto Rico later today. Dorian is then forecast to move to the east of the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday, and near or to the east of the central and northwestern Bahamas on Friday and Saturday. 

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is expected today, and Dorian is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Although weakening is possible after Dorian moves across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the storm is forecast to strengthen late this week and this weekend while passing near or to the east of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. 

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center. A wind gust to near 39 mph (63 km/h) was recently reported at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

An Air Force reconnaissance plane just reported an estimated minimum central pressure of 1003 mb (29.62 inches). 

Dorian hit Martinique yesterday, washing out roads on the island. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are under states of emergency as the wends its way through the region.

As of 2 a.m. EDT, Dorian was packing 60 mph sustained winds. Its center was some 240 miles east-southeast of Ponce, Puerto Rico and it was moving northwest at 13 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. Tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles from the center.

The islands are already under a tropical storm warning, with the threat of heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding and mudslides constituting the biggest concerns for the storm-weary islands of 3.3 million.

“Our greatest concern is for the rain,” said Matthew Brewer, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan. “We’re expecting between two and six inches, with local eight-inch amounts. We have some tight topography gradients, so flash flooding could be a problem.”

Tropical storm conditions are expected and hurricane conditions possible in Puerto Rico later today. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands this morning and possible in portions of the Dominican Republic tonight and tomorrow.

“I am confident that the people of Puerto Rico are prepared,” Governor Wanda Vázquez said at a news conference last night. “We are going to move forward.”

Dorian is on track to hit Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Florida next.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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