Sept. 19, 2005 It seems certain that Virgin Islands residents will dodge Hurricane Philippe, which was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane late Sunday.
"It doesn't appear that it will have any threat to the islands at all. There's been no change in the track at all," meteorologist Brad Diehl at the National Weather Service in San Juan said at 5 p.m. Monday.
It looks like Hurricane Philippe will pass about 500 miles northeast of the Virgin Islands on Tuesday afternoon, he said.
However, the thunderstorms that hit the Virgin Islands on Monday are the very outermost portions of the storm. Diehl said they should continue into Tuesday.
As of the 5 p.m. update, Hurricane Philippe was centered is at 18 degrees north latitude and 56.5 degrees west longitude. This puts the center about 540 miles due east of St. Thomas.
The hurricane has winds of 75 mph with gusts to 90 mph. Tropical storm force winds extend outward 85 miles.
It is moving to the north-northwest at 6 mph. The barometric pressure stands at 988 millibars, or 29.17 inches.
Diehl said another area of low pressure located about 42 degrees west longitude has entered an area where conditions are not favorable for development. However, he stressed that the situation could change.
"Things can happen, and they can happen fast," he said.
Residents with family in Cuba or Florida should keep an eye on Tropical Storm Rita. It appears that it will pass across the very tip of the Florida Keys before heading across the Gulf of Mexico to hit somewhere on the Texas coast. Since landfall is nearly five days away, that could change.
"I have to emphasize just how much uncertainty there is," he said.
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