Home News Local news LENNY PROJECTED TO REACH V.I. BY 8 A.M.



The local hurricane statement issued at 11:40 p.m. Tuesday for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands by the National Weather Service office in San Juan projected that St. Croix would begin experiencing hurricane conditions around 8 a.m. Wednesday as the storm out of the west moved east-northeast.
At 11 p.m., Hurricane Lenny was centered at 16.2 degrees north latitude and 67.0 degrees west longitude, about 175 miles southwest of St. Croix. The coordinates for St. Thomas are 18.3 north latitude and 65.0 west longitude.
The Category 3 storm was moving east- northeast at nearly 16 mph, and forecasters continued to project a gradual turn to the northeast during the next 12 to 24 hours.
A hurricane warning, a flash flood watch and a coastal flood warning remained in effect for all of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The weather service projects Lenny to drop 10 to 15 inches of rain "near and within 50 miles to the right of its path," with mudslides likely over areas of steep terrain. Also, it said, "Strong thunderstorms with very gusty winds and tornadoes are possible within the rainbands.
"Stronger winds could be experienced in mountainous areas and over unprotected south- and west-facing harbors," the weather service said. "Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next 24 hours."
On its track as of 11 p.m., the core of the hurricane was projected to move across the southeast coastal waters adjacent to Puerto Rico and Vieques between 5 and 10 a.m. Wednesday, then move northeast across St. Croix around 10 a.m.
Forecasters said the south and southeast sections of Puerto Rico should begin experiencing tropical storm conditions shortly after midnight, with hurricane conditions expected to begin affecting St. Croix around 8 a.m.
However, "The exact track of Lenny still remains uncertain," the weather statement said.
The general weather forecast for the Virgin Islands called for rainbands and scattered thunderstorms after midnight Tuesday with winds mainly southeast 15 to 25 mph early, increasing to 30 to 50 mph with higher gusts well after midnight.
Wednesday's forecast is for increasing wind and showers, with hurricane conditions expected throughout the territory by early afternoon: frequent rainbands and thunderstorms with torrential rain, and winds variable 35 to 55 mph early in the day, increasing to 65 to 85 mph with higher gusts by noon.
Late Tuesday night, maximum sustained winds remained near 115 mph with higher gusts. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 60 miles from the Lenny's center, with tropical storm winds extending outward up to 175 miles, mainly to the southeast of the center. "Hurricane Lenny is a dangerous Category 3 hurricane and is expected to remain so for the next 36 hours," the National Weather Service statement said.
The minimum central pressure reported by a hurricane Hunter aircraft was 958 m., or 28.29 inches of mercury.
Marine conditions were projected to deteriorate overnight Tuesday, with seas of more than 10 feet in increasing southwest swells. "Storm surge flooding of 4 to 7 feet above normal, accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves, is possible near the center of the warned area," the weather service said.
Coastal residents were advised to be prepared for coastal flooding and beach erosion produced from increasing southwest swells overnight and continuing into Wednesday. "Storm tides of 2 to 4 feet should be expected along the south and west coasts of the local islands early Wednesday morning," the weather statement said.
Hurricane conditions are expected to continue into Wednesday night with frequent rainbands and thunderstorms, but winds and showers gradually diminishing late into the night. The forecast for Thursday calls for cloudy and breezy conditions with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms.


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