As of the 5 p.m. National Weather Center update, Hurricane Lenny has reached 115 mph making Lenny a category three hurricane, the fifth major hurricane of the 1999 season.
Rain bands in advance of the storm are expected to start affecting St. Thomas over the course of the evening. A hurricane warning remains in effect for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
A still and gray day in St. Thomas was closed by a extended band of dark rainy clouds moving in from the southwest and limiting visibility with rain across the island and fog in the upper hills.
At 5 pm AST the center of Hurricane Lenny was located near latitude 15.8 north, longitude 68.2 west or about 235 miles (380km) southwest of San Juan Puerto Rico. Lenny is moving toward the east northeast at 17 mph.
A gradual turn toward the northeast is expected during the next 24-hours. On this track the core of the hurricane should be nearing eastern Puerto Rico, Vieques, St. Croix, then Culebra and the northern Virgin Islands during the next 12 hours. The weather should continue to worsen this evening.
Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/hr) with higher gusts. This makes Lenny a dangerous category three hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson hurricane scale. Stronger winds could be experienced in mountainous areas and over unprotected south and west facing harbors, according to the National Weather Center.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.
In addition to the hurricane warnings, flash flood warnings have been posted for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Rain from Lenny may total 10 to 15 inches.
Virgin Islands residents should have completed their preparations for this dangerous storm as conditions will deteriorate overnight.
To quote the Hurricane Center in Puerto Rico," The exact track of Lenny still remains uncertain and all interests across this area should closely monitor future forecasts and adjustments. Remember that forecast tracks can have large errors both to the right and left of the forecast beyond 36 hours."
For further information on Hurricane Lenny click on the rainbow icon at the top of the menu or click here.
Watch St. Thomas Source for updates on closings, openings and changes due to Hurricane Lenny.
The next complete update from the National Weather Center will be at 11 p.m.


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