Home News Local news ISABEL STRENGTHENS AS NEW STORM FORMS

ISABEL STRENGTHENS AS NEW STORM FORMS

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Sept. 8, 2003 –––– Hurricane Fabian is racing off to the northeast and not a danger to anyone but ships at sea, Tropical Depression Henri is still dancing along the U.S. East Coast, but Hurricane Isabel and now Tropical Depression 14 could pose problems for the Virgin Islands.
Hurricane Isabel went from a Category 1 to a Category 2 overnight and is now a category 3, with forecasters expecting it to be a Category 4 by Tuesday.
It is still too far away from the territory for forecasters to know for certain if Virgin Islands residents are in harm's way. The track now takes it slightly to the north of the Virgin Islands, but meteorologist Brad Diehl at the National Weather Service in San Juan said that could change.
"Upper level conditions northeast of the storm may influence the motion of the storm and bring it south," Diehl said Monday.
As of 5 p.m. Hurricane Isabel was centered at 17.9 north latitude and 43.7 degrees west longitude or 1,195 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Winds had reached 125 mph with gusts of 140 mph. It was moving west northwest at nearly 14 mph. The pressure stood at 952 millibars or 28.4 inches.
Hurricane force winds extend outward 35 miles, with tropical storm force winds reaching 140 miles.
It now looks like Hurricane Isabel could reach the area late Saturday into Sunday.
If it does hit the territory and causes extensive damage, it will join Hurricanes Marilyn and Hugo in creating a string of disaster anniversaries. Hurricane Marilyn hit Sept. 15 and 16, 1995 and Hurricane Hugo visited on Sept. 17 and 18, 1989.
Tropical Depression 14, which could become Tropical Storm Juan by Tuesday, formed Monday morning. It appears right now to pose no threat to the Virgin Islands, but Diehl warned that the same upper level conditions that could push Hurricane Isabel south could alter the depression's track.
The current prediction takes it on a northwest track well away from the Virgin Islands. It is moving west at 3 mph.
"With that slow movement things could change," Diehl said.
According to the National Weather Service Web site the depression was changing little as of 5 p.m. when it was centered at 12 degrees north latitude and 22.8 degrees west longitude. Winds were 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph.
St. Thomas sits at 18.3 degrees north latitude and 65 degrees west longitude. St. Croix is at 17.7 degrees north latitude and 64.8 degrees west longitude. St. John is located at 18.2 degrees north latitude and 64.5 degrees west longitude.

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