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ST. CROIX OPEN FOR BUSINESS AFTER JOSE

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The Hurricane Jose story on St. Croix is that there really isn’t one. And that suits residents just fine.
Ten years and about a month since Hurricane Hugo devastated the Big Island, Jose dealt only gusty winds and spot power outages Thursday while damage was virtually nonexistent.
"We have no discernible damages," said Gov. Charles Turnbull. "We are indeed very lucky."
As the storm approached on Tuesday and Wednesday, however, preparations were taken seriously. Hurricane shutters and plywood covered windows on buildings and residents hit stores and gas stations to stock up on essentials.
Retailers benefited from Jose’s approach as sales picked up compared to the same period last year. The Kmart store at Sunshine Mall reported a 42 percent increase in sales between Tuesday evening and Wednesday.
Hoteliers saw some cancellations because of the storm, but compared to the long-term damages hurricanes can inflict, they said it was a low price to pay.
"We’re in terrific shape," said Peter Ross, president of the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association and owner of the King’s Alley Hotel. "We’ve demonstrated again that we were prepared. We’ve had no damages whatsoever."
Ross said that since hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 1, October is traditionally a slow month. Still, he said, Jose caused King’s Alley Hotel to lose a group reservation that will "hurt for the next week."
What little business the hurricane chased away from the Sunterra Carambola Beach Resort was replaced by an amenity that any good beach resort needs — sand. Sue Gorham, administrative assistant at Carambola, said Jose caused a good deal of sand to be deposited on the resort’s beach.
"Everything is fine. We’re good to go," she said. "Actually, quite a few of our guests decided to stay. We boarded up and everybody was quite secure."
Elsewhere on the island Thursday, the V.I. Port Authority reopened the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport at 8:30 a.m and the V.I. Water and Power Authority was dealing with outages on a few of its feeders.
Utility spokeswoman Patricia Blake Simmonds said Feeder 2 was knocked off line early Thursday but has been restored. As of early afternoon, Feeder 10 was also out of service.
St. Croix’s north shore was experiencing sporadic outages due to salt-laden sea blast, said Simmonds.

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