[IMG: Luis; Credit: Norm Nelson, Bermuda Biological Station for Research - http://www.bbsr.edu/Weather/]

The Hurricane Page - 1997

Updates from the Islands

- - - Grace - - -

October 17, 1997 13:20EDT
Grace has been taken up by a front and lost its tropical characteristics. So that was Grace. Another short-lived tropical storm (if it was one at all to start with though...).

October 16, 1997 15:30EDT
Just for the records, there is a new tropical storm in the Atlantic. It's center is located 22.6N, 57.7W, well northeast of the Leeward Islands. Grace is moving gracefully further to the east northeast. So, no reason for any concern (except for the folks at sea) since this storm will not threaten any landmass. For the latest advisories of the National Hurricane Center and satellite images see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

- - - Fabian - - -

October 8, 1997 21:25EDT
The latest advisories from the National Hurricane Center report that Fabian has lost its tropical characteristics and is now declared extra-tropical. Fabian, short lived, we won't miss him...

October 8, 1997 10:55EDT
Ship reports indicated that winds to the northwest of TD#7 were 40 knots, therefore this system has been upgraded to a tropical storm, Fabian. This is the 6th named storm of the season. Fabian is located well away of any landmass (currently 870 miles east southeast of Bermuda) and it is moving even further away to the east. Little strengthening is expected and this system should become extratropical within 36 hours. For the latest advisories and satellite imagery see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

October 7, 1997 15:30EDT
A tropical depression has formed out of the tropical wave which moved across the northeastern Caribbean last week. It is located 545 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. The system is not expected to strengthen and does (or will) not pose a threat to any landmass. For more information see the advisories released by the National Hurricane Center, listed with the latest satellite imagery on our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

- - - Erika - - -

Sun, 14 Sep 1997 10:18:17EDT Maritza Barreto looking back on the effects of Erika on Puerto Rico:

     For a while Erika was practically stationary northward Puerto Rico, high
     amplitude storm waves were approached to north, northeast and northwest
     coast of the Island (maximum wave heigth 12 feet, average 5 to 7 feet). Two
     surfers died in the northern and eastern waters due to the high wave
     action. No rainfall associated to the storm was occurred. The only effect
     on the island was the high amplitude waves.

Tue, 9 Sep 1997 17:20:35EDT: Curt Waite reporting from Antigua, regarding the ash-fall, indirectly due to Erika:

     Ashfall in Antigua from Montserrat is really unusual. [...]  In fact, 
     in two years of volcanic activity next door
     this is the first time we have experienced it.  It has been more of a
     novelty than anything - sort of like snow in San Diego - and I think more
     people came outside to watch it than went inside to get away!

     In any case, it looks like our winds are swinging back around to the
     southeast, and the cool trade winds are returning.  Another beautiful day
     in paradise!  Actually, it takes a major weather system at this time of
     year such as a tropical storm or hurricane to affect the normally constant
     easterlies which make Antigua such a lovely place to live. Come visit us
     some time!

Tue, 9 Sep 1997 15:36:42EDT: Another Antiguan-'snow' update from Nick Maley:

     Well today was very hot in Antigua. The sun shone and the island is
     looking great after the recent rain. Here and there you still see signs
     of the ash that fell for a few hours yesterday but with one shower that
     to will be gone. A test area I set up to monitor the ash confirm
     no more is falling and now that the wind is no longer from the direction
     of Montserrat it is clear that the threat is over.


September 9, 1997 11:50EDT
Erika is still a strong hurricane. The good news is that it seems less and less likely that it will hit Bermuda. The 3-day forecast keeps is over 350m west of Bermuda. Updates on the situation on Bermuda can also be found on the weather pages of the Bermuda Biological Station for Research. Also, for the latest National Hurricane Center advisories and cool satellite pictures of this powerful hurricane skip to our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

This morning I also received the following report from Curt Waite, one of our special hurricane correspondents on Antigua, regarding Montserrat's volcanic ashes falling on Antigua:

     Thought I'd take a quick minute to let you know of an interesting side
     effect of Erika. We have continued to have SW winds the last few days which has
     brought snow to Antigua!  Snow in the form of ash fall from the erupting
     volcano on Montserrat.  We had a large cloud of ash pass over us yesterday
     morning which produced a significant amount of ash (several millimeters in
     some areas) and we continue to get a light dusting.  I can't imagine having
     to live with this on a daily basis as the folks over there do. I guess we
     are still at risk as long as these winds continue.  the volcano seems to be
     entering a more active phase again...

Although it may not be appropriate for this Caribbean Hurricane Page [but hey, Im the moderator], we are all concerned about the situation on Montserrat. Seems like another big explosion is expected in the near future... The following websites I have found to be of great help in assessing the current situation:

Mon, 08 Sep 1997 20:05:10EDT: Nick Maley reporting from Antigua with an update on the ashes of Montserrat's volcano falling on Antigua due to the changed wind-direction caused by the passing of Hurricane Erika:

     Well, after a couple of hours af ash fall the wind direction changed and
     Antigua is bright and sunny once again. It was an interesting
     experience... naturally it got worse before it got better but  now the
     breeze has returned to normal and with one good shower and you won't
     know it ever happened. For us to experience for one day what the people
     of Montserrat have struggled with for two years brought home to us all
     their plight and misfortune.

September 8, 1997 16:55EDT
Erika has a little bit intensified over the last 6 hours. Maximum sustained winds are now near 125mph, the minimum central pressure down to 151mbar (actually measured). The latest 3-day forecast is a little bit to the east of the 11AM one. Good news for Bermuda...but still too early to relax...

Mon, 8 Sep 1997 12:02:29EDT: Dave McDermott reporting from St.Thomas:

     Erika was another in a short but storied list of hurricanes which happened
     to turn, so to speak, at the 11th hour. The most recent before Erika was
     Hurricane Luis. As it was, people seemed to come out of their own worlds
     and finally prepare for Erika seriously. While the threat is past, some
     people are going to leave their shutters up until the end of November.
     Others will add to their emergency supplies what they didn't have already.
     What Erika has done is given the VI a wakeup call in the event of a future
     storm. So some good has come out of this.

     Swells are reaching our northern shores and a few of my friends have been
     out surfing (at Hull Bay) and bodysurfing (at Magens Bay). The water
     visibility is greatly impaired and probably will be for the rest of this
     week. Another cruise ship, the Sensation, has cancelled their visit for
     tomorrow due in part to high swells. Over 1000 seasick passengers would not
     be Carnival's idea of fun!

     It's a beautiful day today with good breezes and mostly sunny blue skies.
     I'm leaving shortly to boogie-board at Magens. Thanks to all who appreciate
     these reports. I really enjoy writing them! See you next storm!

September 8, 1997 10:10AM EDT
First of all, I want to say THANKS!! to all the Special Hurricane Correspondents who have kept us up-to-date with Erika. This site wouldn't have been such a success without your help. Your reports were really appreciated by worried people 'far away'! I have gotten several e-mails thanking you for the updates which helped alleviate their fears. You have done a great job!

In addition I have to thank GoBeach Vacations who is offering their webspace and bandwidth to me at no cost. So if you're looking for the perfect accommodation in the Caribbean take a look at their extensive website.

Anyway, look at Erika now! With sustained winds of 120mph it has become a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale! The central pressure is only 955mbar! Further strengthening is even possible! Really glad that Erika wasn't like this two days ago. It looks like the islands were lucky this time. Looking at the reports I have been receiving even the rains weren't as bad as feared. Although Nick Maley is reporting that Antigua is facing a totally unexpected problem thanks to Erika. Due to the change in wind direction Antigua is getting covered by the volcanic ash of Montserrat's Soufriere volcano!

So the Caribbean are spared, the US will be as well. That leaves us with Bermuda. As it looks right now Erika will pass well east of the island (over 250 miles), but since it will at least two days for Erika to move up that high north, it is still uncertain. For your records the lat/lon coordinates of Bermuda are: 32.0N, 60.0W. The Bermuda Biological Station for Research features some excellent tropical weatherpages (maintained by Norm Nelson). Browse their local reports and view some cool satellite images at: http://www.bbsr.edu/Weather/. An 'unframed' version can be found at: http://www.bbsr.edu/Weather/newtrop.html.

Mon, 8 Sep 1997 09:36:27EDT: Debra Vela reporting from Puerto Rico:

     As of about 2pm yesterday, we knew we were out of the danger zone
     so spent the day furiously undoing the preparations so I could get
     to work on time today!  Storm turned North, but it's still quite
     breezy and the seas are very high.  We (my puppy Sam Juan (Samantha
     Juanita) went to the beach this morning and the swells were up, up, 
     up.  'Till next time (we're now watching the wave off Afria) . . .


Mon, 8 Sep 1997 09:22:48EDT: Liane Le Tendre from BVI Yacht Charters reporting from Tortola, BVI:

     Well, Thankfully Erika didn't even give us a decent rain storm.
     Could have used it too because the cisterns need a good topping up. Maybe
     the storm coming in behind her will serve that purpose.

     The funeral of Princess Diana prevented us from getting any meaningful
     weather updates during the height of the danger ... but I'm sure they would
     have broken in on the service if there had been anything serious to report.

     Fair winds and smooth sailing, Liane

Mon, 8 Sep 1997 00:44:05EDT: Nick Maley reporting from Antigua:

     Well it seems that hurricane Erica is not finished with Antigua yet. I
     noticed this morning a fine layer of Montserrat's volcanic ash across my
     house (Aiton Place) in Hodges Bay. Closer examination showed small piles
     collecting in the folds of leaves. Clearly the change of wind direction
     is bringing us a new hazard.

     Talking to my gallery in St.John's I 'm told the situation is much worse
     there. Someone described ash falling like rain. There has been talk of
     shutting the schools in the south where it is at it's worst. Local radio
     has said that the dust which settled on the hills in the south is now
     shifting and spreading across the island. I am in the north west so we
     are probably lucky right now but it is bad enough that when I have sent
     this I will have to cover the equipment to protect it. I'm also about to
     disconnect the guttering down pipes to protect the water in our cisterns
     from contamination.

     I will send an update tonight. This brings home the terrible plight of
     the poor people of Montserrat. I am about to put up an Antigua links
     page at www.CineSecrets.com but now also wonder about providing a
     bulletin board for personal reports and the lasest updates about
     Montserat. Anyone interested should email me.


September 7, 1991 21:13EDT
Erika has strengthened considerably. Maximum sustained winds are near 105mph, making it a category-2 hurricane. Luckily it seems to be no threat to the Caribbean Islands or the US coast. It also looks like it will move east of Bermuda, but that is still too early to tell.

Sun, 07 Sep 1997 19:05:58EDT: Hector Luis Matos reporting from Puerto Rico:

     The Hurricane Erika, said good bye! to Puerto Rico.

     The Conditions in Caguas, Puerto Rico, is Cloudy at [2300Z]time, no
     winds, only smooth breeze, during the afternoon, no rain falling down,
     as we are expected. Erika run to west/northwest at 5 mph an it's a class
     2 hurricane with winds at 105 mph.

Sun, 7 Sep 1997 17:58:06EDT: Rafael Buxeda Ímaz reporting from Puerto Rico:

     As Sunday ends, San Juan still awaits anything resembling rain.

     My noon re-stocking foray revealed, as what was to be expected, shelves
     lacking bottled water. What did surprise me was that the fresh meat
     refrigerator was also pretty much empty, especially the more expensive cuts
     of meat. I wonder if this is due to a good hearty meal, prior to when the
     weather deteriorates, or shear stupidity. A fridge full of fresh meat, with
     no electrical power can send a grown man to tears.

     Canned meats were scarce, although free baked bread was available. The good
     old, wet finger test, out in the open, would probably place wind speeds
     about at 15 mph.

     The 21:00 Z (9/7) advisory lifts the hurricane watch for Puerto Rico, and
     unless it starts raining, things have returned to normal in Puerto Rico.

Sun, 7 Sep 1997 16:25:01EDT: Dave McDermott reporting from St.Thomas:

     It has been pretty quiet here so far. We had a
     good downpour at approx. 7:00 am AST with infrequent gusts. The reports
     I've read indicated those gusts were at about 34 mph. I was at home closing
     windows and checking for possible leaks. Fortunately, the only thing that
     leaked was the a/c!

     The town is very quiet as becomes a Sunday in St. Thomas. The cruise ship
     Fascination DID show up much to my surprise. I guess they really do believe
     the storm reports. I myself cannot put 100% faith in them as they can be
     very unpredictable as has been observed earlier during this storms track
     plus previous experience! Although highly improbable, if Erika took a
     sudden nudge to the south, this cruise line might have a lot to answer for.

     There are no ships scheduled for tomorrow so there is no concern in that
     area. The storm is nearly stationary and has brought approx. 4 inches of
     rain to some parts of the VI. The airport is open and the grocery stores
     are packed as usual on a Sunday. Most bars are open as they have stayed
     open since Friday in anticipation of the power going out and some patrons
     wanting to do a Hurricane party. My wife and I will go to watch a football
     game when we depart here as the local channel is not broadcasting one at
     this time.

     The longer Erika stays nearly stationary, the more rain and gusty winds we
     can expect. However, I feel the worst(?) is over. We can use the rain
     albeit in smaller, soaking quantities. We do not need another hurricane's
     direct hit though. I can't help but draw a correlation between this storm
     and 1995's Luis and Marilyn. The dates and tracks are eerily uncanny for
     the first. Let's hope not for the next.

September 7, 1997 14:30EDT
Rafael Buxeda Ímaz pointed out to me that you can find up to date weather reports for most of the islands on the National Weather Service's website. The generic URL is: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/currwx.pl?cccc=XXXX where XXXX is the station identifier. For example, the URL for weather info for St.Croix is: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/currwx.pl?cccc=TISX. Other examples (taken from our Practical Guide) can be found below. More stations can be easily located with the point-and-click map of current weather conditions across the Caribbean provided by National Weather Service Forecast Office, San Juan, PR.

     TTPP 106N 614W - Trinidad         TFFR 163N 615W - Guadaloupe
     TNCE 175N 630W - St.Eustatius     TAPA 171N 618W - Antigua
     TGPY 120N 618W - Grenada          TKPK 173N 627W - St.Kitts
     TBPB 131N 595W - Barbados         TNCM 181N 631W - St.Maarten
     TVSV 131N 612W - St.Vincent       TISX 177N 648W - St.Croix
     TLPL 138N 610W - St.Lucia         TIST 183N 650W - St.Thomas
     TFFF 146N 610W - Martinique       TJPS 180N 666W - Ponce (PR)
     TDCF 153N 614W - Dominica         TJSJ 184N 661W - San Juan (PR)

Sun, 7 Sep 1997 11:33:04 Rafael Buxeda Ímaz reporting from Puerto Rico:

     It appear's Erica has pulled a stunt on us. It seems she is for all
     practical effects stationary. Local news reports (15:00 Z 9/7) report gust
     of 40 mph in Vieques and Culebra. The latest Doppler already shows a good
     amount of rain over these islands, as well as over the US Virgin Islands.

     Unless she gets moving, there is very little doubt we will get at least 15"
     of rain. We've had a fair amount of rain during the last two weeks. So, 15"
     will certainly mean fallen trees, land slides, small streams overflowing
     their banks and localized flooding.

     Conditions in San Juan at 15:00 Z, unchanged since dawn, are partially
     cloudy, a couple of very short showers (barely enough to wet the streets).
     There is practically no breeze, although every now and then, there is a
     very slight gust.

     Our friend, Javier E. Pérez in Humacao will be the first among us to
     start feeling the wind and rain.

     This lack of forward speed just prolongs the agony, as it has still not
     started to rain. But,no pun intended, when it does start, it'll pour.

     But, first things first. Lunch and some re-stocking of supplies, prior to
     the 18:00 Z advisory.

Sun, 07 Sep 1997 10:44:23EDT: Hector Luis Matos reporting from Puerto Rico:

     In Puerto Rico, Caguas, the Winds, It's wery slow, the rain, don't come
     yet, we haved gusty wind like 25 to 35 mph

     Now, we have a Hurricane Watch for P.R. , and we are waiting for the
     rain falling down, the Dopler Radar show the rain at the east of Puerto
     Rico, during the day I go to report the conditions, that we get.

September 7, 1997 10:15AM EDT
With Erika slowly (5mph) moving to the northwest the threat for damaging winds seems to be over for the islands. However, heavy rain will affect Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and probably some other Leeward Islands. We'll keep you informed as the reports come in...

Sun, 7 Sep 1997 09:27:08 Curt Waite reporting from Antigua:

     We suspected that Erika would be a non-event, and were not disappointed in
     that respect. However, you can't afford to take a chance so went through the
     motions here at the station.  Our shutters are pre-built so we can button
     down in about an hour both at the studio and transmitter sites.

     This morning between about 4:30 and 6:00 brought the most
     activity.  About 2-1/2 inches or rain in that period and gusts up to 32 mph.
     Remants of a feeder band I suppose.  It is overcast but quiet now.

Sun, 7 Sep 1997 08:26:45EDT: Debra Vela reporting from Puerto Rico:

     It's Sunday morning and the eye of Erica is hovering about 200 miles Northeast.
     I took my puppy down to the beach - we're on the North coast of Puerto Rico -
     and the waves and wind are starting to get big.  It's very overcast.  But no
     real rain yet.  My boyfriend took off this morning so planes are flying.  From
     what I understand, St. Thomas (about 45 miles East) is getting a lot of rain.
     We spent all day yesterday getting ready for the inevitable flooding.  We aren't
     expecting a direct hit but I'm sure we'll get a ton of rain.  Unfortunately, I
     live in a flood zone.  If you remember Hortense from last year, they were
     showing my neighborhood on the local news for about 3 days because we were
     underwater.  I lost everything - my car, my furniture, photos, clothes, etc.
     Insurance paid but . . . (I was on vacation in Europe when Hortense hit - stupid
     move - won't be leaving the Island in September again!)  Talk to you later as
     things develop!

Sun, 7 Sep 1997 09:46:20EDT: O.W. Jongsma reporting from Cole Bay, St.Maarten:

     No beachweather today.  Temperature 24C.  So far we've 
     had 48.6mm of rain! Some thunderstorms earlier, but now it seems to 
     get better.  The airport is open again, however, no planes have left 
     or arrived yet.  It is now up to the airlines. 

Sun, 7 Sep 1997 00:09:15EDT: Javier E. Pérez reporting from Puerto Rico:

     At this moment(12:00 AM), we only experienced weak
     breezes. (10 mph). I live in the east side of the island ( in Humacao) very
     close to the sea.
     There is no rain at this moment. Hurricane Erica is moving  very slowly( 9
     We are under hurricane watch.

Sat, 6 Sep 1997 23:23:27EDT: Rafael Buxeda Ímaz reporting from Puerto Rico:

     After a partially sunny and a tad muggy Saturday, the 22:00 Z news had live
     coverage of rain starting in Humacao, on Puerto Rico's eastern coast.

     Although barely visible on the San Juan Doppler
     (http://www.intellicast.com/weather/sju/nexrad/), rain is clearly visible
     at 00:00 Z (9/7) in a line from Puerto Rico's southern to northern coast,
     just south of San Juan. By the way, the imagery changes every half-hour. So
     it is timely.

     There is a slight breeze in San Juan as I write this, noticeable due to the
     calm and heat that has prevailed all summer.

     Rain should have started already in Culebra and Vieques. The former has an
     additional problem to face. The water used on the island is desalinized sea
     water and that plant has been out of commission all week. The resident's
     only source of water was via trailer trucks, which will not reach them
     again until the seas calm down and ferry service is re-established.

     The rest of the island is not out of the woods, by a long shot. If Erica is
     comparable to Hortense, at least as far as wind, we could be lacking
     electrical power. For some strange reason, Puerto Rico's generators are on
     the south coast, while the majority of the people live on the northern
     coast. Our experience with Hortense was that loosing service on a couple of
     115 and 230 kilovolt lines, kept most of the north coast without power for
     The 03:00 Z (9/7) advisory should lift the hurricane watch for Puerto Rico
     and the Virgin Islands.

     I noticed as I was plotting Erica's position that barometric pressure has
     constantly fallen, as well as forward speed. Since this storm has not made
     landfall, there is really no accurate manner to judge the seriousness of
     About the only good thing coming from Erica, so far, is that local
     authorities have set up a Crisis Center. (I kiddith thee not. It's name in
     Spanish is Centro de Crisis) The idea is to have government agency heads
     and the press in one place, with teleconferencing to the San Juan Weather
     Bureau. A lot to TV screens on the walls and charts as backdrops.
     Unfortunately, local authorities do not sound more knowledgeable about the
     situation, in spite of the change.   

     We should all be a bit thankful none of the islands has felt Erica's wrath.
     Some of our neighbor's to the east have been constantly hit, year in and
     year out; and even the scare of a storm should hurt their tourism industry.

     Expectations for good news with the 03:00 Z (9/7) advisory fell short.
     Erika has slowed to 7 mph. That and a re-positioning of the center, still
     keeps Puerto Rico under a hurricane watch.

     Authorities are expecting 15" to 20" rain within the next 36 hours. Seas
     are starting to pick-up along the northern coast. It has rained enough to
     justify that San Juan's principal dam was opened to avoid it's overflow.

     Bear in mind, Hortense poured 23" of rain in a period of 24 hours.
     Surprisingly, authorities are NOT recommending that private activities be
     suspended on Sunday. If someone sees some contradictions here, that's two
     of us.

     I will keep filing reports from San Juan as conditions warrent and if the
     old 166 mhz still has power. 

Sat, 6 Sep 1997 21:14:26EDT: Tony Edwards reporting from Tortola, BVI:

     As of 21:00 hrs there has been little other than fairly strong winds, I
     would estimate about gale force, but gusty rather than constant, and some
     occasional rain. Where I live is towards the western end of Tortola beside
     a north/south valley, so the northern winds are funnelling down it. Most
     residents have taken precautions, hurricane shutters and plywood were much
     in evidence during the day, and the normal anchorages are empty, as are
     most of the docks, especially those exposed to the west, but there was
     little to nothing by way of special shopping, in fact the shops were very
     quiet early today, but I suspect that much of that was due to the funeral
     of Princess Diana.
     I am even able to stay on-line and offer this report, as all power is still
     on and, as usual, the phones are working.
     If "Erika" keeps up her course, we will probably get a little more rain,
     but that will be it.
     We hope!
     Tony Edwards

Sat, 06 Sep 1997 19:09:28EDT: John Dovale from IDL, St.Maarten's premier internet service provider, reporting from St.Maarten:

     Curfew was lifted partially by noon and fully by 6PM this evening. We
     experienced very little wind and rain when we were under storm warning.
     However the seas were extremely high.

     I went around today and saw that everyone had prepared well for this
     hurricane. It seems LUIS lessons are still fresh in the minds of the people.
     The level of preparedness in St. Maarten has improved 100-fold over what was
     experienced in LUIS in 1995.
     Marine contigents to control the curfew were dispatched well in advance. The
     shelters were opened and manned well in advance and were located in
     buildings which had been recently certified as hurricane proof.
     Emergency personnel were on the roads during the storm and reporting back on
     what was being seen and experienced.
     Weather reports were timely and public information was very well organized
     and detailed.

     I do not know what the highest windspeed was here in SXM as I did not realy
     experience much storm effects. It was almost like the storm has evaporated.
     During my drive today, I saw that the waves on the french side were very
     heavy and strong, but this did not stop a group of windsurfers from enjoying
     their weekend. It has been raining here off and on, sometimes light but most
     showers are fairly heavy. The showers last maybe 10-15 minutes with a few
     lasting longer periods.

     In Philipsburg, all seemed OK. One building which is right on the beach and
     was under contruction lost some of the material making up the protective
     barrier. I guess the pounding waves was a little more than it could handle.
     Most stores removed their signs so there was very little damage in these
     areas. No real debris to speak of. Water levels in certain areas were
     excessive (on the roadways) but for the most part, the drainage was adequate
     as many of the major drainways had previously been serviced and cleaned by 
     Public Works.

     It was more of a warm-up for us....but then again we all know September is
     the month to watch for so we are remaining very alert.

     John Dovale

Sat, 06 Sep 1997 00:54:15 John Dovale from IDL, St.Maarten's premier internet service provider (sorry for the belated posting, totally my fault):

     We have been monitoring the situation here along with the local radio
     stations and the EOC. Things are relatively calm and preparations for the
     storm went smoothly.

     All necessary precautions and procedures have been put in place well in
     advance in contrast to the time of Hurricane Luis. It was actually a very
     relaxed and well organized effort this time around, which shows that the
     Emergency Services have fine tuned their hurricane preparedness plans well.

     We have provided the EOC with internet access this time around as well as
     the local radio station LASER101 and our staff is also on the road snapping
     webcam shots which we will post to our site later on. There is still a
     chance that POWER may be interrupted later this morning. It was supposed to
     be at midnight but things are very quiet here so it has been extended.

     Many people are at home watching TV- both the weather channel and waiting
     for the Princess Diana Funeral Coverage, and it is expected that the storm
     will pass near St., Maarten in the early hours of the morning.
     Here at IDL we have established a public message board so friends and
     relatives abroad can post messages for users online in St. Maarten to
     receive and read. In return we hope to provide shots of the storms effects
     as it approaches, interacts with the island as well as what things are like
     in the aftermath. We do not expect much damage, or problems

     The Lt Governor has issued a curfew for 6AM Saturday and it is expected that
     recovery will be swift and painless.

Saturday, September 6, 1997 4:55PM EDT
Good news. Looks like Erika is not threatening any of the islands anymore. Hurricane watches for St.Martin and the islands east and south have all been discontinued. There is still a hurricane watch in effect for the US and British Virgin Islands as well as Puerto Rico. But they are likely to be discontinued later tonight.

Latest coordinates: 19.5N, 62.4W, or about 245miles east northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Erika is still moving to the west northwest, near 10mph, but it will gradually turn more towards the northwest. Maximum sustained winds are still near 85mph. For Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands the winds will not be a problem. However, since it is expected that the forward motion will slowdown, these islands can get a lot of precipitation...

Saturday, September 6, 1997 4:40PM EDT
The latest from St.Maarten (via O.W. Jongsma: Curfew is strangely enough still in effect. The airport is still closed as well. A little rain, and some windgusts from time to time, nothing special...

September 6, 1997 2:00PM AST Dave McDermott reporting from St.Thomas, USVI:

     Good afternoon! Hurricane Erika, though slowing down, appears to be staying
     a quite ridgid course north of us. St. Thomas has only experienced a few
     very brief showers and weak breezes. If it sticks to this course, we might
     not even get the rain we were forecasted to get. However, it must be noted
     that these storms are fickle and even a little turn to the direct northwest
     at this time would give us more than we bargained for.

     It seems the residents are heeding this as grocery stores are stilled
     packed. The gasoline stations are not half as busy as they were last night.
     Storm shutters are up already on some federal buildings as they are on 
     private dwellings. The cruise ship Seaward, which was supposed to visit
     here today, came in last night for provisions and then headed south. I'm
     still not sure yet if tomorrow's cruise ship will visit but it is highly
     doubtful. This puts an economic crimp on businesses already coping with the
     usual summer downturns. A hurricane does not have to hit directly in order
     to cause economic damage.

     So far, no damage has been observed and it was overcast but bright when I
     came in to do this report. Keep your fingers crossed! I am!

     For the question concerning snorkeling, snorkeling will definitely be
     affected as the sea swells from this storm will cause some coastal erosion
     and flooding. Visibility will be severely hampered for the next week or so.

Saturday, September 6, 1997 12:05PM EDT
Just spoke to family on St.Maarten (Cole Bay). Everything went well. They had just a little rain (16mm = not even 1 inch). Lowest barometric pressure 1008 mb. Some gusts of winds, but nothing major. It is overcast right now, with no rain. No power/phone outages. Despite the 'nice' weather, there is a curfew until further notice. The airport is closed at the moment. At 4pm local time we expect a new update regarding the curfew and airport.

Sat, 6 Sep 1997 11:47:14EDT: Rafael Buxeda Ímaz reporting from Puerto Rico:

     I dropped into Old San Juan and the pedestrian mall in Rmo Piedras this
     morning. Traffic and shoppers were light. TV news last night had video of
     people doing their shopping, but except for bottled water and ice; there
     does not seem to be panic buying.

     The latest advisory (15:00 Z 9/6) bears good news and the 00:00 Z 9/6
     position has the southern edge of gale winds (40mph/34knts) about 150 miles
     north of San Juan and about 100 miles 12 hours later (00:00 Z 9/7).

     But having said this satellite photos show rain bands that extend far
     enough out to literally cover all of Puerto Rico. So the 5" to 10" of rain
     forecast should hold true. Erika's 12 mph forward speed will not make the
     situation concerning rainfall lessen. Bearing in mind that last Tuesday
     afternoon, we had 3" to 4" fall in San Juan, converting major traffic
     arteries into impassable lakes, we should see localized flooding and
     streams overflow.

     Winds do not appear to be a concern at this time. We might see gusts in the
     range of 40 to 50 mph, comparable to official wind speeds during Hortense.

     The citizenry appears to be calm and prepared. Supermarkets will remain
     open until midnight, an additional five hours over their normal closing

     Seas will probably range to about 10' to 12' feet over normal. And a rush
     by sightseers to northern beaches is to be expected.

     My only concern is that a slight change in direction will worsen the
     outlook. If this should occur, we will not hear about it until late in the
     afternoon, making preparations more difficult.

     Conditions will certainly be worse in Vieques and Culebra, two islands
     between Puerto Rico's eastern coast and the US Virgin Islands. As soon as
     the seas start picking-up, ferry service from Fajardo will be discontinued.

     Authorities are still maintaining their watch and wait attitude. About the
     only action from authorities is that they are having news conferences to
     announce position reports and that there will be another news conference
     within three hours.
September 6, 1997 11:20EDT
Looking good! Or at least, better than expected. Although maximum sustained winds have increased to 85mph, the current track and forecast is more northernly than previously forecasted. Current location is 18.9N, 61.5W, or about 120 miles east northeast of St.Maarten. Erika is still moving quite slowly to the west northwest near 12mph. The minimum central pressure is 981mbar.

Although convection is not as strong anymore in the center, Erika is still well organized and could strengthen a little bit more. The forecasted track shows that Erika is expected to make a sharp turn to the north in about 24 hours. This is good news for Puerto Rico and the islands more to the west.

Judging from the reports I get in (see below) the situation is not bad at all. Especially Antigua didn't feel as much as was expected. Tropical storm force winds are extending to about 75nm from the center. Most probably these will not be felt by the islands of St.Maarten, Anguilla and St.Barths, since the center will not pass closer than about 100 miles from them.

An intermediate advisory will be issued at 2PM EDT, the next full advisories will come out at 5PM EDT. These, and satellite images, can easily accessed from our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

Sat, 06 Sep 1997 10:06:51EDT: Paul Streng reporting from Michigan about the situation on St.Maarten/St.Martin:

     Just got off the phone with SXM (10:00 EDT / 1400 UTC) and all is well, as
     the storm turns north they are prepaired for a bad day in paradise but
     nothing terrible.  The electricity was not / has not turned off on the
     island and the cable companies are still in full operation. Tony Richardson
     reports from Grand Case that the "ocean is black with a white top".  Some
     "strong breezes"  but nothing you would really call a storm as of yet.
     People seem to be breathing a little easier and seem to be cautiously
     optimistic that things will be OK.  More as I have it.

Sat, 06 Sep 1997 09:49:31EDT: Pamelah Jacobson (Fort Recovery Estates) reporting from Tortola, BVI:

     As for not so famous Erika, she will probably go above us.  She is moving
     slower than yesterday. Right now we have sun and very mild breeze. Guests
     are still arriving, I'm corking my window frames to prepare for potentially
     heavy rains. People around are beginning to secure their sites and boats
     are not veering off shore. The supermarkets were very crowded and we've
     stocked up a bit on provisions and batteries.

Sat, 06 Sep 1997 09:26:00EDT: Nick Maley reporting from Antigua:

     Well fickle Erica didn't show up. There was some increased wind velocity
     around 3.30 am EST, very little rain, and this morning is very still.

     Having suffered the economic repercussions of Hugo and Luis we don't
     need a hurricane this year. With luck we won't see one but Erica
     certainly showed how unpredictable a system can be. I hope she will be
     kind to the other islands.


Sat, 6 Sep 1997 07:24:44EDT: Roy Bossons (Roys Place) reporting from Anguilla:

     1120Z squally showers wind around 30K,it appears we are to be spared(touch
     wood)we shall know by this afternoon.

Mrs. Pamela Simmonds wrote me that at 12:15am local Antigua time that "we're sitting here with no wind no air no anything, it's pretty eerie seems like it's gone past"

Fri, 5 Sep 1997 22:25:25EDT: Dave McDermott reporting from St.Thomas:

     Hello again to all. Dave here from the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas. Boy,
     what a difference a "hurricane watch" posting makes! It's now 9:15 pm AST
     and all grocery, convenience, gas, and other service-oriented operations
     are packed with lines leading up to them. It took me approxiamately 35
     minutes just to get some gasoline just 2 hours ago. It now appears that a
     sense of urgency (something very seldom seen here) is sweeping the island.

     After a quick analysis of the current forecast, we appear to be in for some
     much needed, if a bit too much, rain (5 to 10 inches). We are also forecast
     to receive winds up to 75 mph sometime during Saturday evening. They
     shouldn't last long as we are on the southern edge of the storm which is
     considerably less formidable than the northern section. There is a slight
     pickup in the night breeze but the sky's are relatively clear.

     i shall try to update you with the latest tomorrow morning but that will
     depend on the storm and any possible curfew's. Plus, the power will
     probably be shut down sometime Saturday as a precautionary measure. If this
     happens, then i will update asap.

     Randy and Gloria, thank you for your response.


Fri, 05 Sep 1997 21:17:24EDT: Paul B. Streng reporting from Michigan regarding the situation on St.Maarten:

     I spoke with Marvin at the downtown fire station late this afternoon and
     couldn't help but hearing the circular saws in the background cutting
     plywood for the windows.  He said that plans were going smoothly and that
     there was really no sign of weather at that time.  I spoke with friends in
     Cay Bay about 0030 UTC this evening and they said that there was still no
     sign of the storm but everyone was preparing.  There is a distinct
     uneasiness even though this is a cat. 1 storm.  Everyone seems to be
     quickly relating back to Luis, which is understandable.  Power, water and
     cable is still on and that shouldn't change for a few hours.  As I know
     more I will let you know.

Fri, 05 Sep 1997 20:49:13EDT: Nick Maley reporting from Antigua:

     Well after a tempestuous start today's weather became glorious. Not
     knowing whether Erica would actually show up for our date was in a way
     aggravating since we have to do so much to adequately prepare for a
     hurricane. You have the distinct feeling that if you make the effort the
     storm won't come and if you don't.....it will. There were queues at the
     gas stations in anticipation of disrupted services after the storm and
     the supermarkets were a zoo. A visit to a local hardware store found
     more people buying batteries than nails. I guess after Luis people are a
     little blasi about a mere 75 mph.

     Well everything is battened down. The sunset, mid approaching clouds was
     less than spectacular. Although gusty the breeze is currently pretty

     We're waiting.


Fri, 5 Sep 1997 20:03:11EDT Karla Cleveland from Mary's Boon reporting from St.Maarten:

     Right now it is
     almost 7pm Friday night.  We have spent the whole day boarding up and
     packing away.  The waves have been coming in at 10 to 12 feet since 2pm.
     We have had 2 or 3 - 5 minute squalls throughout the day.  They are
     expecting the south side of the hurricane to come through by late morning
     tomorrow.  We will be shutting off the computor soon, because the Island
     will cut the power by 10 or 11pm tonight and we don't want the power

September 5, 1997 16:20EDT
Latest coordinates: 17.1N, 59W, or about 180 miles east of Antigua, moving west northwest near 13mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 75mph, minimum central pressure 989mbar.

For the rest not much news. Forecasted track is still the same as previous. In 24 hours the center of the storm is already at it's closest point to St.Maarten (and St.Barths) [about 50 miles]. This means that they can expect 50nm per hour, though not hurricane force winds. Anguilla will be a bit closer to the center, as well as Barbuda. These two islands may get hurricane force winds.

There will be an intermediate advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center at 8PM EDT. The next regular advisories will come out at 11PM EDT. These, as well as satellite images, can be easily accessed with our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

O.W. Jongsma reports from St.Maarten that the barometer is showing 1012.3 mbar and is going down. Traffic is terrible, people are trying to get gasoline, water and batteries. The Dutch people on the island fear that Erika may prevent them from viewing the always interesting soccer match Holland-Belgium tomorrow at 2pm local time.

Fri, 05 Sep 1997 15:30:11EDT: Paul Streng reporting from Michigan about the situation on St.Maarten/St.Martin:

     In the last hour (2PM EDT / 1800 UTC) I have spoken with the PJA Airport
     Fire Department and Tony Richardson (Tony's Taste of the Big Apple) in
     Grand Case.  Firefighters reported nothing out of the ordinary vis a vis
     weather as of yet........but they are keeping their eyes open.  Tony said
     that he went to Philipsburg this morning to get groceries and it took him 3
     hours to get back to Grand Case.  Everyone is out and going to the store /
     gas station.  I will call the Downtown Philipsburg fire station later this
     afternoon and speak with Marvin Dolison.  Sounds like everyone is taking
     this seriously and "battening down the hatches".  Have just received an
     email from another friend on the island, she said that every is taking it
     seriously and preparing in ernest, so we will have to wait and see.  More
     as I have it.

Fri, 05 Sep 1997 14:51:35EDT Benjy reporting from Guadaloupe:

     Miss Erika is an unpredictable one. Yesterday i told U we were
     fearless about her, but things have changed so rapidly. This morning at
     10 A.M French governor decided to issue a hurricane warning for the
     southernmost islands of Guadeloupe as he expected us to be affected by 2
     P.M, he changed his mind after weather reports at 11 A.M and everybody
     must at home at 6 P.M. At this time PTP International airport will be
     closed. First fx are expected by 7 P.M, we should have heavy rains,
     overall over mountainous regions, and gusts during strong showers.
     Present weather conditions show a partly cloudy sky and little wind. But
     it's very very hot! Next night will be long, long like the coffee I will
     drink to keep awake until tomorrow.

September 5, 1997 14:20EDT
Latest coordinates: 16.9N, 58.5W, or about 215 miles east of Antigua, moving west-northwest near 14mph. Maximum sustained winds near 75mph, minimum central pressure down to 989mbar (actually measured by a reconnaissance aircraft). The new location is just a little north of the forecasted track...

Another note taken from the 11AM advisory: 64kt winds (min. hurricane) extend to 30 nm southwest and 50 nm northwest of the center; 50kt winds extend to 50 nm southwest and 90 nm northwest of the center; 34kt winds (min. tropical storm) extend to 100 nm southwest and 125 northwest of the center (one nautical mile = 1.15 mile). The grunt of the storm is on the northeastern side (ie. away from the islands).

Hurricane watches and warnings have been posted for most of the NE Caribbean islands. The next regular advisories will come out at 5PM EDT. These, as well as satellite images, can be easily accessed with our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

Fri, 5 Sep 1997 12:54:39EDT: Henry reporting from Puerto Rico:

     Hurricane Watch was posted for islands of Puerto Rico.
     But Erika is expected to pass about 80 miles north of north-east tip of the
     island, and no major effects are expected.  So local Civil Defense is
     preparing for any change in the track.

     Hasta luego,


Fri, 5 Sep 1997 12:49:50EDT: Dave McDermott reporting from St.Thomas, US Virgin Islands:

     Hello to all! This is Dave, your hurricane "correspondent" located on the
     island of St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. At this time, (12:30 pm
     AST, 9/5/97), Hurricane Erika is approaching rather erratically from the
     east. Her speed will bring the frontal portion of the storm into the Virgin
     Islands sometime late this evening as tropical storm force winds are out as
     far as 200 miles from the center.

     The island is pretty quiet right now as the people really don't seem to
     take this storm seriously. The "Daily News", our local newspaper, has an
     article on the storm on the 3rd page! Not on the front as you might expect
     considering the devastation wrought by hurricane's Hugo and Marilyn. The
     article itself states that Erika will probably not strengthen to hurricane
     status until the weekend. This comes from Miami. Unfortunately, this is
     very misleading for alot of the people here who do not have access to the
     internet, or have to rely on our paper for their information. Not everyone
     has cable tv back yet (yes, from hurricane Marilyn), Alphastar went blank,
     and rumors abound.

     This storm has not really followed anyone's forecast except for one lonely
     computer model. So, this storm is not really being taken seriously at this
     time. I myself however, am taking it seriously. When you've gone without
     electric or a hot shower for 3 months, and seen your friends and the island
     you live on devastated by a "so-called Category 1 hurricane", you tend to
     appreciate and respect even the lowly tropical depression.

     I will try to discuss tomorrow morning any further developments but that
     will largely depend on any curfew regulations put into effect. Bye for now.


Fri, 05 Sep 1997 12:38:22EDT: Sibastien Enselme reporting from Guadaloupe:

     Well it looks like TS Erika is going to pass nearby Guadeloupe this

     In Guadeloupe :
     Yesterday night, in local news & weather report on TV, they weren't
     talking about any threat : just signaling the storm position on a drawn
     map, and showing it was about to pass way up north of Guadeloupe. Well
     the authorities seem to have changed their mind because they have issued
     a Storm alert level 2 at 10:00 local time this morning.

     Here in the French territories we have 2 levels of alert :

     Level 1 : System approaching and might be on the territory within 36 to
     48 hours.
     Level 2 : Most likely to concern us within 12 hours. Everybody should go
     back to their homes.
     Plus two letters : A for Guadeloupe, and B for the northern islands of
     guadeloupe (St marteen & St barth).

     Alert 2A and Alert 1B have been set this morning at 10:00 local time
     Alert 2B will be set later in the day.

     So everybody left work and is getting prepared (the stores were crowded
     this morning).

     Same thing happened for hurricane Marilyn two years ago. They issued
     alert 2 at 14:00 without issuing alert 1 before, and it caused a lot of
     trouble (people stuck away from home...). Marilyn was really rainy and
     caused lots of destructions around rivers here.

Fri, 5 Sep 1997 12:23:44: Liane Le Tendre from BVI Yacht Charters reporting from Tortola, British Virgin Islands (who are under a hurricane watch):

     Today, we are taking off all the headsails and preparing the lines on the
     boats for hurricane force winds and probable storm surge. As this hurricane
     is still only a catagory 1 storm at this point, no other precautions will
     be taken. In the office, I will cover all electronic equipment just in case
     the rain manages to force through the window slats. Rain of course, is what
     does most of the damage in a storm such as this.

     This is very typical weather for this time of year here in the Caribbean,
     and although annoying and potentially dangerous, we do not expect any
     severe or long lasting damage from hurricane Erika.

Fri, 5 Sep 1997 11:57:45EDT: Emil Lee from Hotel Princess Heights on St.Maarten:

     We and most of the people are well prepared.  Many people have had
     hurricane shutters up for some time already.  Most of the preparations
     include cleaning loose materials stocking up on water and canned foods.

     People are starting to line up for gasoline for generators in preparation
     for probable power outages.

Fri, 5 Sep 1997 11:08:43EDT: Alan Scholl reporting from Antigua:

     Well it is now a hurricane and as you said about the slow forward motion
     which mean it could develop further today. At around 9:00AM this morning
     we had quite a "squall". High winds gusting probably up to 25-30MPH
     blanket rain and very low visibility for about 1/2hr. Then boom it all
     disappeared and it is now sunny again with blue skies. We are all getting
     a bit on edge now that it is actually been upgraded to a hurricane.

     Will keep in touch.
     Alan Scholl

September 5, 1997 11:10EDT
Unexpectedly, Erika has become a hurricane! Maximum sustained winds are near 75mph. The center is currently located at 16.7N, 58.0W or about 250 miles east of Antigua. It is moving west-northwest near 13mph. Minimum central pressure is 997mbar.

Previously the center of Erika was thought to be outside the area of high convection. Yesterday there were some doubts about this, and today, the NHC advisories report that the center is indeed under the now nearly circular area of deep convection. Also, an impressive convective band is noted in the eastern semicircle.

It's current forecasted track takes the center of Erika just north of the islands. This time I mean by just north about 30 to 50 miles or even less... Two things I don't like about this system, first of all, the center is now in the area of deep convection, instead of more to the southwest, which in addition seems to become more symmetrical. A sign that further strenghtening is likely and can occur quickly. Also, since it is moving over quite warm waters, and since the forward motion has significantly slowed down, it has more time to strengthen as well...

Hurricane watches and warnings have been posted for most of the NE Caribbean islands. An intermediate advisory will be issued at 2PM EDT. The next regular advisories will come out at 5PM EDT. These, as well as satellite images, can be easily accessed with our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

Fri, 5 Sep 1997 08:54:42 -0500: Debra Vela reporting from Puerto Rico:

     Friday here in the Islands.  They just put the VI under a Watch and the Leewards
     under a Warning.  Nothing for Puerto Rico yet (St. Thomas is 45 miles from San
     Juan) but if an alert happens, we should know later today.  We're expecting up
     to 15 inches of rain tonight with the first of the squall lines and I live in a
     flood zone (Oh, boy, and I just recovered from losing everything in the floods
     of Hortense).  No preparations are being made yet and everyone went to work
     today but you can bet we're checking out Web sites!  My boyfriend is scheduled
     to leave the Island on Sunday but is checking into staying "just in case".

Fri, 5 Sep 1997 08:34:16 -0500: Nick Maley reporting from Antigua:

     Well last night  in St. John it was business as usual. There were few
     signs that anyone was considering a date with Erica as a real
     possibility and most people I spoke to were not aware that the storm had
     changed direction.

     This morning I suspect that they may be taking the threat a little more
     seriously. The sky is very overcast periodically with gusty squalls. We
     are trimming shrubbery that may mess with the guttering etc., but in
     Antigua it's almost a tradition (with a storm rather than a hurricane)
     to "wait and see".

     We have an exhibition opening at 5.00pm tomorrow so we are still hoping
     Erica will go elsewhere.


Fri, 5 Sep 1997 06:45:17 -0500: Alan Scholl reporting from Antigua:

     Well after a hit from LUIS it will take a storm of immense nature for
     anyone here to do any serious preparations. Everyone is aware and are
     keeping a close eye but generally hurricane preparations start at June 1.
     I am safe if I say there aren't any hammers banging on shutters etc. at
     least not yet.

     The sky is beautiful blue and this started yesterday as it was a welcome
     break from the gloomy grey that prevailed only a few days ago due to the
     last tropical wave that passed through. If you werent listening to the
     weather reports you would not even know that there was a tropical storm

September 4, 1997 21:15EDT
The latest on Erika: location: 16.0N, 56.3W, or about 370 miles ESE of Antigua; moving WNW near 18mph; max. sustained winds near 60mph; minimum central pressure 1000mb.

Tropical storm watch remains in effect for St.Maarten, tropical storm warnings for the French side of St.Maarten (it's a big island!), Guadaloupe, St.Barths, etc.etc. The center of Erika is difficult to identify on IR satellite images. The direction of movement is uncertain as well. But the National Hurricane Center keeps everything more or less consistent with earlier observations. In about 24 hours Erika will be very close to the islands. It is still expected that the center will go (just) north of the islands. Also, since no further strengthening is forecasted and since the grunt of the storm is to the northwest of the center, I don't expect major problems for any of the islands at this point of time (although tropical storm winds extend to about 75kts to the SE of the center at that time...).

Thu, 4 Sep 1997 19:51:40 -0500: O.W. Jongsma reports from St.Maarten:

     Situation on St.Maarten at 9.00 pm Sept.4,warm 29 C.
     Residents remember "Luis" Sept.5 1995 and are of course 
     listening to the radio and watching the Weather channel 
     and the Internet.

September 4, 1997 20:30EDT
The latest coordinates: 15.7N, 55.7W. Maximum sustained winds are near 60mph. A drifting buoy reported gusts up to 68mph. Tropical storm warnings/watches still in effect. However, keep in mind that the grunt of the storm is to the north-east of the center (ie. away from the islands).

Thu, 4 Sep 1997 17:42:53 -0500: Peter Simmonds reporting from Antigua (under tropical storm watch):

     we thought more north of course but now
     we are moving boats etc
     generally people arent bothered
     (because after luis nothing to worry about?)
     however the expat boating community have
     maybe a better idea of weather?
     surf should be pumping in the morning
     thats why i dont own a boat !
             wish us luck

September 4, 1997 17:10EDT
Hmmm, the latest advisories don't look too good... Although Erika has not further strengthened it's forecasted track is more to the west than earlier anticipated. The closest point of approximation of the eye to the island of St.Maarten will be about 75 miles... This means that St.Maarten can expect tropical storm force winds in about 36 hours... Therefore, tropical storm watches have been posted for the islands of Antigua, Montserrat, Barbuda, Nevis, St.Kitts and Anguilla. A tropical storm warning has been posted for St.Maarten.

However, there is quite a lot of uncertainty now with forecasting path and strength. Erika is still not a 'nice' symmetrical system. Recent satellite images suggest that some deep convection is redeveloping near the center (a sign of strengthening), however, this trend may not continue. If the shearing persist (like it does now) it can easily weaken instead of strengthen. I personally think that Erika will strengthen very slowly, but will take a more northernly track than NHC is forecasting. In any case, everyone in the NE Caribbean should keep a close watch on this system.

The center of Erika is currently located at 15.5N, 55.0W or about 460 miles east-southeast of Antigua. It is currently moving toward the west-northwest near 21mph. Maximum sustained winds are still near 60mph, the minimum central pressure is up a bit to 1000mbar.

An intermediate advisory will be issued at 8PM EDT. The next regular advisories will come out at 11PM EDT. These, as well as satellite images, can be easily accessed with our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

September 4, 1997 11:40EDT
Some good news, it looks like Erika has not further strengthened. According to the NHC Advisories, satellite images show that the center of Erika is exposed a little to the southwest of the main area of deep convection. That means that the storm is being sheared by high-level south-westerly winds. This will stop further strengthening for the time being. However, the shearing by the upper level winds can become less later, so intensification can resume after 24-36 hours.

The center of the storm is located at 15.0N, 53.0W, or about 575 miles east of the islands. It is moving west-northwest near 18mph, maximum sustained winds are near 60mph, minimum central pressure is still 997mbar.

The big question: where is it going? Well, it is hard to tell. Computer models don't really agree at this time, some models predict it to pass north of the islands, more or less continuing its current path, another possibility is that Erika will get significantly sheared, this will result in a more westward track (targeting the islands) but it will be a lot weaker system.

The NHC three day forecast takes Erika well clear of the islands. The closest point of approximation of the eye of the storm will be about 210 miles north-east of Barbuda (the most north-eastern island). The system looks really big on satellite pictures, the outflow is huge, however, tropical storm strength winds do not extend further than about 110 miles southwest of the center of Erika at that time.

The next advisories will come out at 5PM EDT. These, as well as satellite images, can be easily accessed with our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

September 4, 1997 11:30EDT
Still waiting for the 11AM NHC Advisories to come out...stay tuned...

September 4, 1997 10:00EDT
Received the following reports from our Special Hurricane Correspondents:

Thu, 4 Sep 1997 07:01:44 -0400 (AST): Benjy reporting from Guadaloupe:

     I've been monitoring this tropical storm since it was on eastern africa
     for development and getting updates four times a day. thanks God she
     won't affect the Lesser Antilles as per the actual forecast. How is it
     doing in Guadeloupe? Quite quiet. Radio stations kept the population
     updated about the phenomenon, but as we are not concerned, there is no
     reason for panic, as this usually occurs.

Thu, 4 Sep 1997 07:06:02 -0400: Antonio Joyette reporting from St.Vincent:

     Right now, the gereral direction of the storm has changed to a
     northwesterly direction. But locally we continue to monitor it since any
     thing is possible as we have seen with TS Luis two years ago.

     The people right now are quietly stocking up, no panic situation or
     anything such as. But nevertheless people are quietly preparing. There has
     been a hush atmosphere here on the island of St. Vincent. We have not had a
     tropical storm coming close in a long time. No one is saying must but
     expecting much - that is for the storm to definetely show signs of veering

     Emergency officials are tightening up loose ends and putting key personnel
     in place now.

     Outside that, the general  mood is hush hush - more  or less a quiet
     anticipation of  God's favour.

     That's all for now. It's my pleasure to assist.
     This Antonio Joyette
     on the island of St. Vincent
     Reporting. (laugh)

Wed, 3 Sep 1997 20:35:58 -0500: Peter Simmonds reports the following from Antigua:

     feeling in the yachting community is
     wait to hear the 5.00am report then move
     boats to the mangroves
     english harbour can handle 80 easy

September 3, 1997 17:30EDT
Tropical Depression #6 has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Erika. The first tropical storm to develop in the deep tropics this year. The current location of Erika is 12.6N, 48.2W or about 800 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. It is moving towards the west-northwest near 18mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 40mph. The minimum central pressure is estimated at 1004mbar.

As it looks right now, it is still expected that Erika will pass north of the islands. The most recent 3-day forecast even shows a slightly more northernly path than 6 hours ago.

On satellite pictures it looks like a huge system, albeit not very well organized. However, conditions are quite favorable for strengthening. In three days it is expected to reach hurricane strength...

The next advisories will come out at 11PM EDT. These, as well as satellite images, can be easily accessed with our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

September 3, 1997 11:50EDT
The 11AM advisories from the National Hurricane Center show that TD#6 is very close to tropical storm strength. So it could become 'Erika' later today...

The current location of TD#6 is 11.7N, 46.3W or about 950 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. It is moving towards the west-northwest near 17mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 35mph (tropical storm starts at 40mph). The minimum central pressure is estimated at 1005mbar.

There is a trough forming over the US east coast in the next few days. This will (1) slow the forward movement down, and (2) force it to take a more northernly path. The first thing is bad, because then TD#6 has more time to strengthen (although for the next three days it is not expected to reach hurricane strength), the second thing is good, as it looks right now it is expected to pass just north of the islands.

The next advisories will come out at 5PM EDT. View them on-line with our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

September 3, 1997 9:05EDT
Tropical Depression has formed in the Atlantic. For current info check out the NHC advisories which can be easily accessed from our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator. More details will be posted later...

September 9, 1997 9:00EDT
After almost 1.5 months of silence in the tropics, tropical depression #6 has formed in the Atlantic. See above for more details.

September 2, 1997 14:45EDT
There are currently 2 tropical waves in the Atlantic which could develop into a tropical depression within the next day or so. The first one is located about 400 miles east of the Leeward Islands, the second one (which is a lot bigger...) about 1350 miles east of the islands. Stay up to date by checking the Tropical Weather Outlooks which can be found on our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

August 28, 1997 10:45EDT
Source: TROPICAL DISTURBANCE ADVISORY/DISCUSSION; dated 8 PM EDT WED AUG 27 1997. The reason why no tropical wave coming from the African coast has developed into a tropical system is the huge upper low in the central Atlantic. This has produced a belt of strong 50-60kts westerly winds over the tropical Atlantic, rupturing apart these tropical waves, and thereby preventing them from becoming or staying organized. Unfortunately there are some signs that this upper low will slowly weaken, therefore conditions may become more favorable in the near future for tropical waves to develop into a tropical system.

The Tropical Disturbance Report also notes that if none of the tropical waves currently between the African coast and the Caribbean develop over the next few days, it will be the first August since 1961 that no tropical cyclones were formed in the Atlantic. However, they caution that in that year 10 tropical cyclones developed in the remaining months of the hurricane season... But of course, we stay optimistic, and hope that this year will be an exceptional one with very low activity!

August 22, 1997 15:25EDT
The two waves in the Atlantic between Africa and the Caribbean remain disorganized. Hopefully the unfavorable upper-level winds will prevent development.... Stay up to date by checking the Tropical Weather Outlooks issued by the National Weather Service in Miami (see our QHWRL).

August 21, 1997 14:20EDT
After a quiet period it is heating up in the tropics. Currently there are three tropical waves in the Atlantic. Each of them show some evidence of organization and could develop into a tropical depression... Check the current Tropical Weather Outlook (see the Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator).

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Contents of these page are not to be taken as official forecasts. These are just my own thoughts about the subject, and I'm not a weatherman nor psychic. Tropical systems tend to be even more unpredictable than human beings. Accuracy of eye-witness reports could not be checked either. Just the fact that I personally know most of the persons quoted does not mean that they tell me the truth and nothing but the truth. The information on this page should be used at your own risk. Do not use it for making life-or-death decisions, always listen to the official and qualified authorities. The author can not be held responsible for lost property, ruined vacations and the like. Despite all this I hope you found the webpage informative and useful. Comments are always welcome. Just send a note to gert@gobeach.com. Gert