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

The Caribbean Hurricane Page

Updates from the Islands

- - St.Thomas (USVI) - -

More recent reports can be found on another page

- 20:00...
  • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 20:39:10 -0400

Conditions slowly "improving" here at the house.  Use the phrase "improving" because it was never really bad during the day.
Wind this evening from the north.  Since the house is located on the south side of the island, we're very well sheltered from the tropical storm force winds that must be experienced on the north side of St. Thomas (and St. John).
Average winds at the hoiuse in the 15 - 25 kts range (again).  Still gusting at times to around 40 mph.  Winds are blowing high over the house.
Barometer reading 1000.0 mb (29.52 in) and it is slowly creeping up.
See attached files below ('house.jog' and 'detail.jpg') for most current conditions here at the house (on South side of St. Thomas, overlooking Crown Bay Marina and Water Island.)

Transformer must have just blown up somewhere in the area.  Loud explosion, lights flickered once and then went out all together.  Fortunately just had dinner heated up in the microwave.

'Lenny' now 929 mb (!!!) with accompanying 130 kts (!!) sustained winds (!!!).

A very strong category 4; if not a category 5!!

The hurricane is NOT looking good at all for Anguilla, Saba and St. Martin.  Worse part is that the winds will be hitting these islands during the night.  One can only hope and watch!
See attached files below ('Lenny.jpg' for a close-up track in the Caribbean / and 'Lenny1.jpg' for the 'Bigger Picture').

Please check the posted messages from the other caribbean islands even though they are not directly influenced by hurricane 'Lenny'.
St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Martinique are amongst the caribbean islands that are being influenced in-directly; this time by the massive swells accompanied by battering waves!!


  • Attachment: House.jpg
  • Attachment: Detail.jpg
  • Attachment: Lenny.jpg
  • Attachment: Lenny1.jpg

  • - Looney Lenny
    • From: Wen <webwriter AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 17:38:12 -0400
    I'm with Herman!  Confusing to say the least.  Lenny the Looney! From my
    vantage point, the wind has changed direction and picked up quite a
    bit.  The power is on again though, so I dunno.....guess we still have a
    way to go.  I'm hearing scary stuff out of St. Croix, but much worse
    down island.  I'm still counting blessings here, as so far the section
    of Hull Bay road I can see is still in pretty good shape.  Though the
    water is flowing out of Magen's instead of in, it too appears to be
    relativley unharmed thus far.  Hanging in there and sending tons of
    positive energy southward....

    - Confusing...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 16:42:27 -0400

    Experiencing 'Lenny' is becoming quite a confusing task from a personal standpoint.

    Listening to the local radio, ("Mongoose 104.9 FM" which has been doing very good work today), makes it sound like there's something we're missing here at the house.  The radio is reporting problems all around.  St. Croix is getting hit pretty badly.  Rescue workers trying to get to people, trees uprooted, high wind gusts reported, heavy seas and damage to the F'sted pier reported.

    And here at the house all is rather quiet!!  Winds are between 10 and 20 kts and the barometer is 999.0 mb (29.50 in).
    Just woke up from a nap and the power is back on again.  Lost it at about 13:30.  And now it's back on!!??!!  Can hear the sound of generators outside!!  And power is on here.  What's wrong with this picture???????????????????????????????
    Just let 'Spare' out of the house so she can check up on her hunting grounds.

    See files 'House.jpg' and 'Detail.jpg' below for latest weather conditions.


  • Attachment: detail.jpg
  • Attachment: house.jpg

  • - St. Thomas
    • From: "Vince Bitowf" <vince.bitowf AT gte.net>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 15:26:52 -0400
    I am in the Emerald Beach Resort near the airport on the south side of St.
    Thomas.  The winds have been fairly mild until now, but we started getting
    some strong gusts around 13:00 AST which is when the power went out.  The
    wind seems to have been coming from the north and we have been in the lee of
    the mountains, but it seems to be shifting.  The waves are high for the area
    and some are reaching the base of the building, although there doesn't seem
    to be any damage or water getting into the rooms.  We are close to the power
    generation station so it is possible that power is out for the whole island.

    - Weather...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 14:17:50 -0400

    Weather is slowly deteriorating.

    Just lost power half an hour ago.  Phone, obviously, still up.

    'Lenny' at 13:00, once again, defies the 11:00 forecast track and moves just a little east of it (see 'Lenny.jpg').  Central pressure now an unbelievable 933 mb (!!) with accompanying wind speeds of 140 mph (120 kts!!).

    Coast Guard just broadcast "Pan, Pan" on VHF channel 16.  "Yacht 64 nm SSE of St. Croix in distress!!!!"
    Yacht's name is "La Vie EnRose"; 42 ft., white hull, 1 mast, two persons on board.
    The position should be VERY close to the eye of hurricane 'Lenny'.  Plus it's in the right-forward-quadrant.  Not a good place to be, to say the least!!  Have seen 45 ft waves at sea, but never in a hurricane with 140 mph winds!

    Recorded highest wind gust of 57.4 kts at 13:10 (see 'House.jpg').
    Barometer finally below 1000.0 mb: 999.0 mb (29.50 in.)

    Many people have asked where the "Wind field" graphic files come from (see 'Lenny.jpg')
    It's from a professional hurricane tracking program called "Hurrtrack EM/Pro".  The software is designed and sold by "PC Weather Products".  The program is highly recommended and has many useful features.  Among others: the ability to animate the storm's forecast track.
    Web page of the company is:
    PC Weather Products Home Page

    Two yachts moored at the old slipway on the north side of Hassle island are riding up against each other as the swell in the corner is quite substantial.

    Have front door open as the wind is not that strong.  Fresh breeze around the house plus saves on lantern fuel and batteries.


  • Attachment: Lenny.jpg
  • Attachment: House.jpg

  • - [Fwd: Afternoon with Lenny]
    • From: Wen <webwriter AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 13:20:53 -0400
    Well, hopefully the worst is over.  I can't believe this thing went to a
    CAT 4!  God Bless those still in the path.  The wind here (Hull Bay Road
    near E&M) is pretty crazy, raging on eminute silent the next, though
    I've seen much worse. There seems to have been a salad explosion all
    over the driveway, but I think Georges tore up more vegetation. It
    hasn't been raining all that much either.  Apparently we have been
    spared again.  My thoughts and prayers begin to turn toward other
    islands as I begin to realize that St. Thomas is taking a good hit, but
    not a devastating one.

    - 11:00 Update...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 11:52:56 -0400

    Latest 11:00 advisory shows 'Lenny' to pass just to the east of St. Croix.  See attached file below ('Lenny.jpg').

    Please note the interesting "dent" in the NW quadrant of the wind fields.  This is the influence of the mountain range "El Junque", located on the island of Puerto Rico!!  Stand corrected but reckon the mountain range's height to be something like 8,000 ft or maybe higher.  The mountain range has clearly deflected 'Lenny' and moved it more onto it's present track.  Quite sure that St. Croix isn't too thankful for that info.
    A similar 'dent" could be seen in the wind fields of hurricanes 'Marilyn' ('95), 'Luis' ('95), 'Bertha' ('96) and, 'Georges' ('98).
    Once again, PR saves the islands of St. Thomas and St. John from devastating winds.

    As noted in the previous message:
    Setting the 11:00 forecast track in motion (with the wind fields included), the main hurricane force winds will not really reach St. Thomas, St. John and the BVI.
    That is IF the storm stays on it's forecast track!!  Wind gusts of hurricane force might still be experienced in the above mentioned islands!  However, these gusts will not be of the duration as will be experienced on St. Croix later this afternoon, as that island is being threatened by the VERY dangerous area surrounding the eye; the eye wall!!

    Weather here on the island of St. Thomas definitely not bad at all.  Sure, it's not a beach day, but it can be much worse than what the current conditions are on the south side of the island.  See attached file below ('house.jpg' and 'detail.jpg' ) for the conditions here at the house overlooking Water and Hassle island, and the Crown Bay area.  One good thing the south side has going for it is that we'll be protected from the strongest northerly winds that are expected.

    Visibility is not bad at all.  'Buck' island and 'Frenchman's Cap' are visible and there has not been that much rain this morning.  However, plenty of rain during the night which can be described as a "Totally Wet" night.


  • Attachment: Lenny.jpg
  • Attachment: house.jpg
  • Attachment: detail.jpg

  • - lenny (what else)
    • From: gone2sea <gone2sea AT netscape.net>
    • Date: 17 Nov 99 10:52:03 AST
    It's 10am Nov 17.  We are facing Charlotte Amalie Harbor and the winds have
    just started to increase.  Maximum winds have only been around 30 knots.  Rain
    is sporatic.  Surf  in the harbor has increased.  Still have power on feeder 7
    and looks as though its time to take the dogs out.  Sail la vie.
    Get your own FREE, personal Netscape WebMail account today at http://webmail.netscape.com.

    - St. Thomas update...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 10:25:20 -0400

    Winds have been slowly building up since 08:00 this morning.  Sustained winds now in the 20 - 25 kts range.  Mainly from the East.  The eastern side of St. Thomas must be experiencing heavier winds than we here at the house, since the house is very well sheltered and protected from the Northwest, North, Northeast an East.
    Barometer dropping (once again) but very slowly.  Definitely still above 1000.0 mb.

    For those interested; the attached two files below ('Detail.jpg' and 'House.jpg') show the conditions here at the house as of 09:33.

    "Lenny's" position at 09:00 was (again) slightly east of the 05:00 forecast track.  See attached file ('Lenny.jpg') below.
    'Lenny' is now a very dangerous category 4 (four) hurricane.  It's the 17th of November and "The Weather Channel" is showing snow and cold in the northern US; while we're dealing with a cat. 4 hurricane in the Caribbean!
    Setting the 05:00 forecast track in motion, (on computer at house), shows the red circle indicating the hurricane force winds area staying JUST clear of St. Thomas, St. John and the BVI as 'Lenny' is moving to the ENE - NE.
    This is the 05:00 forecast track put in motion!!  As stated above, 'Lenny did NOT stay on its 05:00 forecast track, but instead moved just a little east of that track.  This is a good thing for St. Thomas plus the other mentioned islands, but St. Croix WILL NOT be out of the woods (if there are any woods left after this hurricane.), i.e. they will experience hurricane force winds.

    Local radio reporting that there is only ONE (!!!) shelter open on the island of St. Croix!!!!!!!  With their generator NOT working!!!!  This on an island with +/- 50.000 inhabitants!!!!!!
    Won't comment since there might be youngsters reading these messages, but the term "CRIMINAL" comes to mind.

    Local observations around the house and down the mountain:
    - One yacht docked in Crown Bay Marina riding out the storm
    - 21 Yachts anchored / moored in 'Elephant Bay', outside Crown Bay Marina (including two 'Atlantis' submarines).
    - 12 Yachts anchored / moored at the 'cut' at 'Frenchtown'.
    - Many yachts still anchored / moored in 'Long Bay', outside (derelict) Yacht Haven Marina - St. Thomas' Main Harbor.
       Including "Leyland Sneed", "Wild Thing", "Stars and Stripes".

    Waves pounding and breaking heavily on the SW side of Water Island, over 'Porpoise Rocks' (close by).  This also means that these waves will come into the 'Elephant Bay' area soon!!!
    Massive waves breaking over the South and Southwest coastal areas at the "FrenchMan Reef Hotel".

    'Spare' trying to sleep, but not happy due to trauma from past.  Tuna seems to work in calming her down.


  • Attachment: Detail.jpg
  • Attachment: House.jpg
  • Attachment: Lenny.jpg

  • - lenny...???
    • From: "james jordan" <huckphotovi AT hotmail.com>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 03:20:01 PST
      i have seen hugo,marilyn,bertha,and georges and more...
    rain is pouring now thunder and lighting intense power flickering..
    local station wsta on generator.. addie ottley no weather channel any more  
    have to depend on my page for links to weather news. see it at
    the lighting is intense...very close!!!
    continueous strikes. thunder shaking house... dawn approches...
    reports of of flooding starting..nadir gut is flooded across the road...run 
    off causing flooding everwhere... morning calm first
    photos from the deck see blenn.jpg... get latest updates at
    huck 7am
    st thomas
    Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com
  • Attachment: blenn.JPG

  • - Weather conditions...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 07:18:41 -0400

    Power still on...., phone still working...., rain still coming down (only not that hard anymore)...., lightning and thunder
    definitely diminished (nearly totally gone)...., Not that much wind outside yet!!

    For those interested, click the two graphics file attached below to see the latest weather situation here at the house.

    Local radio mentions that St. Croix and the BVI will experience hurricane force winds today.  Hope all the boaters have read my
    book re. "boaters and hurricanes".

    'Spare' just been given her 'tuna-fix' and calmed down again.

    Strange hurricane!!
    Mentally confusing since many people are used to the storms hitting (in general) at night.  Just went trough the night which was
    quite calm, the feeling that it is all over now is incredibly tempting.  Must be difficult to figure what is going on with the storm, , when not in touch with reality.

    Time once again to check another (intermediate) advisory.  This time the 07:00 one.


  • Attachment: Detail.jpg
  • Attachment: House.jpg

  • - Morning...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 06:13:46 -0400

    'Lenny' getting stronger.  Pressure now 950 mb.  Winds now 110 kts.  Eye diameter is 20 nm.

    Very heavy thunder and lightning!!!!!

    Rain now nearly torrential (2,26 in. since midnight).  Beating against the shutters.

    Winds picking up.

    'Lenny' must make a northward track NOW to make a direct hit on St. Thomas.  Looks like the eye is NOT going to pass over ST. Thomas.  See attached file below.

    Pressure here at the house RISING again (???!!!??), 1005.0 mb (29.68 in.).  Wouldn't mind finding out why it's doing that.

    Lightning is constant flashing across the morning sky.

    St. Croix (on radio) getting pounded by battering waves.  WInds are still picking up and situation is going get a lot worse.
    Many people thought that after this night without any wind the storm was nearly over.

    Unfortunately, it is all just beginning!!!
    Rain now showing 2.30 in since midnight (since last reading 5 minutes ago.

    Power and lights flickering at times.

    Radio announces that feeder 9B is out.  Means people in the East end and St. John are without power.

    'Spare' NOT happy at all.


  • Attachment: Close.jpg

  • - Good Morning Lenny
    • From: Wen <webwriter AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 05:49:25 -0400
    Woke up about an hour ago when it sounded like the thunder was coming
    from inside my head!  Nice little storm we've got going here.  Miracle
    of miracles, we have power and phone still, though the power has been
    unsteady for awhile now.  Wonder how much longer it will hold.  It's
    raining pretty hard and the wind has picked up, but so far so good!
    Hang in there everyone.  It looks like it's going to be a wild day.
    Prayers to St. Croix, it sounds like they're getting hit pretty good.
    I'll check in when day breaks and I can actually see what's going on at
    Magen's (if it's still calm enough to open my door and look!)

    - 02:00 Advisory...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 03:50:39 -0400

    According to the 02:00 advisory, 'Lenny' is moving more East than North.  See attached file.
    It is now a dangerous category three hurricane with a minimum pressure of 952 mb and a 25 nm eye.
    The eye is appearing very nicely and clearly on the San Juan NEXRAD radar: (http://www.intellicast.com/LocalWeather/World/Caribbean/PuertoRico/SanJuan/BaseReflectivity/)
    St. Thomas might not have to bear the brunt of the storm.  St. Croix much more in need of our help now.

    Rain a little more heavy over the island now (0.31 in since midnight).
    Islands not totally wet yet.  Rain hasn't been that heavy yet.
    Pressure finally dropping 1002.4 mb (29.60 in).  For a while thought the needle might have been glued to the face plate.
    Wind slowly building as well. (ENE AT 9 kts).  Bad time to give up smoking now.
    Very low overcast.
    Thunder and lightning becoming more frequent and intense.  Lightning strike nearby 30 minutes ago set off car and house alarms.
    Power and phone still up and running.  Something wrong here.  Normally it already would have been out by now.


  • Attachment: Lenny.jpg

  • - lenny
    • From: "james jordan" <huckphotovi AT hotmail.com>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 19:45:59 PST
    hello all...
       busy day! shutters to put up.its 11:30 atlantic standard time here
    the restaurant where i work slammed for dinner.even with curfew at 9 pm 
    people are eating.may be the last supper for a while.news is not 
    encourging.see forecast track in attchments also the eye from san juan 
    doppler radar...should hit early tomorrow.streets are empty...
    had to be out after curfew...no one around not a cop in sight...
    many updates on my site at http://members.theglobe.com/huckphotovi
    also new site with past pic from previous hurricanes...
    e mail; at huckphotovi AT theglobe.com
    stay tuned for early morn pics with the digital camera.
    latest 115mph moving ene at 15mph.min pressure 958 mb...
    not good...its geting stronger and coming directly towards us
    rain is falling steadily thunder and lighting in the direction of st croix 
    good luck to all
    sunrise at frenchmans reef hotel really beautiful 6 am this morn
    tonite at 10pm many local people checking in for safe  haven
    frenchmans bay...beverly hills
    st thomas
    Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com
  • Attachment: sanjuandopplerrader932pm.jpg
  • Attachment: navyfor.gif
  • Attachment: 6amfrenchmanreef.jpg

  • - 23:00 advisory...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 23:25:35 -0400

    23:00 advisory shows pressure has dropped again; this time to 958 mb.  'Lenny' not letting up at all.
    Forecast track is slightly adjusted to the east, in comparison to the 17:00 forecast track. Maybe a good sign for St. Thomas but a very bad sign for St. Croix!  They might now be looking at a direct hit.  See attached file below.
    Still, another wobble might just bring it closer to St. Thomas again.  Things definitely are getting rather confusing.  Nature clearly showing who is in charge (fortunately).
    The eye has now "shrunk" to 25 nm, down from the previous 45 nm size.  A clear indication of a strengthening hurricane!


    Power and telephone still on, amazingly.  Wonder how long that will last.
    Birds and frogs still chirping, no wind yet (NE AT 4 kts).  Rain stopped.

    Guess it's time for some sleep now.  Not much else to do.

    "Spare" already in a self induced sleep.  Won't need "kitty-downers" now.


  • Attachment: Stcroix.jpg

  • - St. Thomas...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 23:04:13 -0400

    Rains have started up a bit more tonight as of 21:00.  Steady rain now.
    Rain gauge showing 1.60 in.
    Looks like this night is going to be totally wet.  Would be surprised if the the rains started coming down much harder later on.

    Thunder is rolling in the near distance.  Lightning can be seen constantly in the southern sky.
    Winds still very quiet.  Can see the clouds moving WSW over the mountain top on their way to 'Lenny'.
    Barometer still hasn't shown much movement.  Current reading is 1006.6 mb (29.72 in).  Very interesting.
    No high wind gusts to speak of.

    Radio now talking about 'Lenny' maybe heading more ENE, as compared to NE.  That would mean a direct hit for St. Croix.
    A very unusual storm.  Not only time wise (mid November) but also track wise.

    Time to download the 23:00 advisory and forecast track.


    - Update...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 20:29:42 -0400

    Good news (??) and bad news (??):

    First the bad news:
    Pressure dropped once again; now 960 mb!!!!!
    Winds are "115 MPH...185 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS".  No speed limits around here??

    The good news:
    'Lenny' moved slightly east of the 17:00 forecast track.  Wobble??  Zig?? Zag??  Who knows?

    Attached file (14A.jpg) below shows 'Lenny' approaching Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Explains why winds haven't started yet.
    Other attached file (14atrack.jpg) shows 'Lenny' forecast track from it's 17:00 position and note the slight east deviation of the predicted track.


  • Attachment: 14a.jpg
  • Attachment: 14atrack.jpg

  • - Evening is falling...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 20:09:37 -0400

    Darkness set in around 17:45 this late afternoon and the thunder and lightning are quite heavy to our South and Southeast.
    Rain continues to fall steadily, however, it has not been that heavy anymore since this afternoon's downpour .
    Surprisingly, the barometer has not fallen that much yet.  It's reading 1006.0 mb (29.71 in) as of this writing.  No indications of it dropping just yet.  Since it hasn't gone down much today, the drop should / must become quite significant tonight.

    The eye is forecast to come right over St. Thomas tomorrow morning at 10:00.  That is, if the storm stays on the forecast track!  One way or the other, it's going to be very windy!!  See attached file below.

    Many yachts left yesterday for Virgin Gorda Northsound (BVI).  Looking at the attached graphic file, the BVI's are going to be experiencing hurricane force winds as well!!!!

    One Local radio stations is playing local music, another is on-par; talking about the upcoming storm where people can call in.
    A third one has a running commentary of some sort of sports game.  Probably american football.  God forbid one should miss that.  Needless to say, tuned in to the second station.  Presentator NOT sensational at all.  Au Contrair ("new airline"), he's very professional with a calm voice and "down-to-earth" advice.  Quite a relief to listen to.  No music, no ridiculous adds.  Just plain common sense.  Maybe he should run for governor.
    Due to the permanent absence of a TV in this house hold (by choice!), haven't got a clue what's on local tv or cable.

    Current weather in St. Thomas (on South side, overlooking Crown Bay Marina and Water Island):
    (Info from weather instruments on the roof)

    Wind:  S - 1 kts.
    Highest wind gust:              19 kts. AT 15:55
    Barometer:                       1006.3 mb (29.72 in.) - (- Rising due to it's twice daily tropical cycle.)
    Temp:                               73.0 F
    Wind Chill:                        72.0 F
    Current Rain Amount:       1.39 in.
    Clouds:                             Low overcast
    "Spare" the Cat:                Sort of Sleeping on the pillow / Nervous / Doesn't like the activity!

    Amazingly, the wind is still very quiet.  Hardly a breath of air is stirring the leaves.
    Lowered the anemometer this afternoon as the supporting pole was located too high above the roof.  Good for readings but bad for windage.  Am afraid pole might not withstand the hurricane force winds.  "Davis" guarantees it's anemometers to withstand winds up to 175 mph.  Guess the pole will snap by then anyway.

    Local weather man on the radio states that the wind should start to pick up in about 2 - 3 hours.

    Thunder sounds like the Navy has resumed it's usual bombing practice of the island of Vieques.

    Just had "Last Supper" (;-)

    Thank the gods for a microwave oven.

    Time to check the 20:00 intermediate advisory.  See if 'Lenny' is still on track.


  • Attachment: Eye.jpg

  • - Rains started...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 17:37:49 -0400

    The first heavy rains started this afternoon around 15:30.  Just installed the shutters and disconnected the downspouts.
    Rain so far (17:16) is 1.21 in for just today.  Now a steady rain.  NEXRAD from SJU not looking good.  Bad sign of things to come.  Thunder is rumbling in the distance.
    Airplanes still taking off and landing on the airport (16:45).
    Two cruise ships left harbor this afternoon, directly into the dark, threatening rain clouds.
    Two yachts left in Crown Bay Marina; "Jane's Tug' (Jerry Immel) and a blue hulled 'Gulfstar 45'(?) in B-5, right in-line with the entrance!!!
    19 yachts (including the two 'Atlantis' submarines) still anchored / moored in 'Elephant Bay', right across from Crown Bay Marina.
    Recently impounded cargo vessel "Atlan-Tic" (drugs smuggle!) moored on the north side of the Crown Bay cruise ship dock.  Wonder what the wave action will be like during the passage of 'Lenny'!!!!
    If it's anything like "Luis", it's going to be a nightmare.
    13 yachts anchored at the 'cut' at Frenchtown.  This place became a "Highway" during hurricane 'Marilyn' in '95.  Ken Husky's "Jony M" is one of them!  Normally Ken used to go to Vieques when a hurricane was coming.
    Ex-VI America's Cup yacht "Stars and Stripes" anchored in "Long Bay"; with the mast still up!!!!
    15 yachts anchored /moored in "Long Bay" outside (derelict) Yacht Haven Marina; including "Wild Thing" and "Leyland Sneed".
    'Lenny' NOT looking good at all.  Pressure down and wind speed up!!!!!  Plus heading right for the USVI.  Uhoh!!!
    Looks like we're in for a DIRECT HIT!!  17:00 discussion NOT positive at all.  'Lenny' might slow down on its way to the VI!

    Time to take some more "Before-the Storm" pictures.
    Hope power doesn't go out too soon!


  • Attachment: Lenny.jpg

  • - First rain band
    • From: Max Schanfarber <maximkt AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 17:15:22 -0400
    Well the first rain band passed through. It was 15 min of very heavy rain.
    In that amount of time 4 in of water was washing down the road and I'm
    loosing my first banana tree. (see photos 24k)
    Good luck to all,
  • Attachment: banana.jpg
  • Attachment: 24k.jpg

  • - 1:00 and preparations continue
    • From: Linda Barr <lbarr AT uvi.edu>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:33:26 -0400
    Government let schools and government workers out at 1pm.  Here at the
    University classes will be held until 4pm.  The library is covering
    stacks but students are still here using it.  At home (Brewers Bay)
    we're putting up plastic on the OTHER side and moving things that we
    don't usually move since it usually hits from the other side.
    Last I heard from the higher-ups, they understand the winds to start at
    8pm and the 'cane is headed for direct landfall here between 2am and
    2pm.  I didn't see that information in the weather service reports, but
    there's lots of time for change too!
    Linda Barr
    linda.barr AT uvi.edu

    - Preparations
    • From: "DAVID MCDERMOTT" <superdave AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 09:25:59 -0400
    Good morning. Hurricane Lenny is bearing down on P.R. and the US Virgin
    Islands slightly faster than before. The VI Port Authority has closed the
    harbor to all vessels coming in over 200 gross tons. Two cruise ships have
    made it in but I'm not sure how long they will stay. All vessels over that
    size must leave by 8 pm. 
    The Governor has activated the National Guard and a listing of hurricane
    shelter locations and opening times has been posted in the local paper
    (Daily News). Last night, the gas stations were virtually empty but they
    have long lines now. Some are going about their normal business. I observed
    concrete being poured, blacktop put down, and workers clearing grass on the
    roadsides! Makes me wonder where the priorities are sometimes. No rain this
    morning but we will see the outer bands late this afternoon. Curfew has not
    been set yet but will probably be around midnight. 
    My preparations are far from over but I hope to be finally ready by
    midnight. So long for now.

    - Update
    • From: "angelone" <angelone AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 08:55:21 -0400
    governor Turnbull has declared a State of Emergency as of 8AM for the Virgin
    Islands . Today will be a regular work day for Government employees and ask
    all to secure their workplace before leaving today . He said this is a very
    serious situation .The  two statements seem to contradict each other..I just
    heard that there are over 50 boats still in Christensted Harbor St. Croix
    ..here on St Thomas Crown Bay is empty and very few boats anywhere around
    Charlotte Amalie ..I'm on the west end near Fotuna Mill and heard that this
    is worse part of St. Thomas to be on ..oh well I'm packing to move
    anyhow...so have lots big garbage bags and putting everything in them..I'm
    going now to VITEMA meeting and will update www.onepaper.com/reporter ..we
    are also making arrangement with alternate servers so we can stay online
    during and after the  ..also try to set up live cam..

    - Big Eyes...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 07:53:09 -0400

    As local residents are looking with big unbelieving eyes towards the west, as hurricane "Lenny's" BIG eye is watching the NE Caribbean islands.

    The 05:00 discussion indicates the weariness the NHC must be feeling of the fickleness that these kind of storms exhibit.
    Was yesterday's weakening the start of an overall weakening trend or was it just another intensity cycle?

    Apparently the latter must have been the case, since this morning's advisory package clearly shows the pressure has dropped and the windspeed is back up again.  The eye has an amazing 45 nm diameter!!  It is not visible on satellite imagery since it is covered by high clouds.
    An eye this size could easily cover the distance from Virgin Gorda (BVI) to Puerto Rico.  Or the space between St. Croix and St. Thomas.
    And an eye this size also has plenty of 'room' to tighten up and thus make the storm become even stronger "...IT IS POSSIBLE THAT LENNY COULD BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE LATER TODAY...".  That means a Category 3 or higher!!

    The wind is kept at an initial intensity of 85 kts but the Hurricane Hunters found flight level winds of 109 kts in the SE quadrant on their 03:07 mission.  The NHC mentions that their 05:00 wind speed "may be a bit conservative".  Not good.

    And sadly, then there will always be people that blame the NHC for "errors" in their forecasts.  How can they talk about errors, when all the NHC is trying to do is make sense out of the 'chaos' that Nature's weather shows.
    They have come a a long, long way since only 20 years ago and they "bend-over-backwards" in their advisories to warn people of the impending danger; and to tell the same audiences that they're human too and can't look into a crystal bowl.
    This is as close as we're going to get, in this day and age, to looking into crystal bowls.  Nothing but praise for the NHC from my side.

    Gorgeous sunset this morning in St. Thomas.  Now (07:45), overcast with low, middle and high clouds.  Surface visibility still excellent as St. Croix is clearly visible (+/- 35 miles distance).
    No rain to speak of during the night.  Still dry this morning.  San Juan's NEXRAD radar showing major rain off the SW coast of Puerto Rico.  Can only assume the present clouds are scouts for the heavier rain clouds heading this way from hurricane 'Lenny'.

    Time to get the dinghy lifted out of the water.


  • Attachment: Lenny.jpg

  • - SeaCaribe's Weather WebPage
    • From: "D. WATSON" <dougovi AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 06:12:28 -0400
  • Attachment: SeaCaribe's Weather WebPage.url

  • - Calm...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 03:29:32 -0400

    A nice quiet night in St. Thomas with just a little sprinkle once and awhile out of some clouds that seems to hover above the islands.  Gone are the 'angry' racing clouds that could be seen yesterday over 'Mountain Top'.

    As of the 02:00 advisory (11/16), 'Lenny' is re-intensifying and the 23:00 forecast track is shifted slightly to the West from the previous (17:00) advisory.
    Now the winds are back up to 75 kts and the pressure is down to 977 mb!

    MAIN question again is how is Puerto Rico's mountain ('El Junque') going to influence 'Lenny's' track??
    Is it going to force the storm to pass along the south coast of PR (forcing it due east; the reverse of 'Georges' - '98) or will it allow the storm to track diagonally across PR?
    Whether the storm comes from the East or the West, the mountain must have an influence on the system, if only due to the surface friction.
    Current weather in St. Thomas (on South side, overlooking Crown Bay Marina and Water Island):
    (Info from weather instruments on the roof; no info available from STT airport as the tower is closed for the night)

    Wind:                               SSE - 3 kts.
    Highest windgust:            11 kts. AT 09:55 (11/15)
    Barometer:                       1004.9 mb (29.68 in.) - Dropping steadily
    Temp:                               74.0 F
    Wind Chill:                       74.0 F
    Yesterday's Rain:              0.31 in.
    Clouds:                            High overcast / Broken - Scattered mid clouds / St. Croix lights clearly visible
    "Spare" the Cat:              Sleeping

    Back to bed.


  • Attachment: Lenny.bmp

  • - Lots of Rain
    • From: "angelone" <angelone AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 20:40:28 -0400
    1909, November 12-13 Tropical storm passed off northwestern corner of Puerto
    Rico in a WSW to ENE direction. ...1942,November 4 Tropical storm apparently
    developed just off southeastern Puerto Rico and crossed the northeastern
    part of the island in a ESE to WNW direction. ...1984, November 6-7 Tropical
    Storm Klaus passed just between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in a
    SW to NE direction. ......some history....VITEMA was the calmest place I
    visited today, they are having an easier job this time because many thing
    put in place for Jose are still available.Heard a lot of anger from people
    around , almost like how dare a storm come here now..I talked to Col. Walker
    this afternoon and he was concerned about people making preparing for the
    storm and that they may put it off because of rain, but said we will not
    have a break from the rain before this storm,like we have had with most.
    After the 5pm they told me it will probably hit a corner of PR them over
    Vieques to St. Thomas and them St. John..but it is another wait and
    watch..it a compact storm so a little change can make a big difference..also
    didn't get the impression they were getting much comfort in the decrease in
    winds. I'm attending the VITEMA meeting at 10 am and will email again..The
    rain is a big concern at VITEMA.Donna

    - St. Thomas Tonite
    • From: Wen <webwriter AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 17:30:15 -0400
    ...The timing is amazing.  Everyone I speak with is shocked and
    disgusted.  According to the 5pm, we are officially under a watch.
    Folks are rather annoyed, but beginning to pay attention.  The streets
    are once again crowded and busy, but the air this time is full of
    slightly amused disgust.  Me too.  It couldn't have come at a more
    inconvenient moment as I am scheduled to put my cats on a plane
    Wednesday and fly to the States on Friday.  Ug.  Just what I needed ;-)
    And the sentiment is echoing Hull  Bay road where the sound of nails and
    generator tests begin to fill the evening, all under a light rain and a

    - Lenny looms!
    • From: "DAVID MCDERMOTT" <superdave AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 17:35:37 -0400
    The 4 pm EST advisory reinforced the earlier projections which has caused
    St. Thomas to get motivated. This is good news as even the procrastinators
    like myself are taking this one more seriously. Wind speed has diminished
    but that could change rapidly although not forecast. 
    Hurricane watches have been posted and the local forecast shows hurricane
    conditions by Wed. early afternoon. The wind field has expanded to 145
    miles (tropical storm strength) from the earlier 85 miles. Incredible
    amounts of rain appear to be associated with this system also. It is
    raining on St. Croix now and the Doppler shows the creeping closeness of
    the first outer rain flows. Puerto Rico these islands are in for a flooding
    and sliding 2-3 days. Not good at all. 
    The cruise ship schedule, incredibly, is still intact for tomorrow.
    Cancellations are in for Wednesday though. I believe they will change
    Tuesday as it doesn't seem like there are many escape routes with the way a
    storm can alter it's direction.
    Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel was just on and many here wanted to know
    if he was going to come down and do a live report!! The laughs drowned out
    the TV.

    - Hurricane Lenny
    • From: "DAVID MCDERMOTT" <superdave AT islands.vi>
    • Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 09:40:40 -0400
    Just when I actually thought we were in the clear, along comes tthis guy! A
    compact storm at this time but could and should get bigger and stronger
    over the next few days. The current weather here is Partly sunny, humid and
    the seasappear calmer than they are supposed to be. I was out on a
    powerboat yesterday and it rained the whole afternoon. The seas were not
    bad at all although we were in the shadow of several islands. We have had
    enough rain though. The ground is saturated and we will definitely have
    flooding and mudslides if a direct hit or near miss occurs. 
    Not many are taking precautions yet. I think they still don't believe it or
    are too stunned. Several sailboats are already heading south for safer
    anchorages. I'm sure the visiting cruise ship schedule will be altered. The
    port could possibly close as early as Wednesday although Thursday is a
    better bet. I have not heard any real news from government sources yet
    although that is not their fault as I was busy. 
    As I have stated before, this hurricane season has been most unusual and
    parts of it have not conformed to previous experiences. I hope we all learn
    from these situations as we never know enough about the weather and it's
    fickle properties.

    - Uhoh!!....
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 20:13:31 -0400

    "From Tropical Depression to Hurricane status in 6 hours."

    Other storms probably look with a little envy at 'Lenny' for pulling this feat off so quick (One can hear them say: "Lenny is going places.  What a promotion!!"); but for us mere mortals this stunt is rather horrifying.  Especially since the 17:00 forecast track places the center just 50 nm NW of St. Thomas on Wednesday Nov. 17 (!!) at 14:00 LT (Local Time).
    The track has it following the south coast of the Dominican Republic then making a bee-line right for the NW coast of Puerto Rico.
    Q: Wonder what PR's mountain (El Junque) will do to the track of 'Lenny'?  Keep it south of the island and head even closer to the VI or deflect it more northward away from the VI???

    Disbelief is rampant in the local marine community.  Comments ranging from "But we're supposed to be at the end of the hurricane season", "It can't keep moving East all the time", "The charter season is starting" to "I can't deal with a hurricane in November" were heard throughout this afternoon.
    Boaters are once again making preparations to seek shelter in the various hurricane holes in the surrounding islands.  On a slightly more positive note: the VI Charter Yacht League's Boat Show in Crown Bay Marina ended yesterday afternoon and many yachts left today; some back to their respective marina's and/or moorings and others for shelter.
    An ironic touch to this all is that many boats have already returned from the States and Venezuela, expecting to start the charter season without any (weather) headaches that normally can be expected during hurricane season.

    Haven't listened to local radio this afternoon but do hope that the rapid promotion of 'Lenny' receives the attention that it soo deserves!
    Hate to look at St. Croix's TV "Channel Eight" 20:00 news cast with the infamous 'AccuWeather' bulletin.  Wouldn't be surprised if they still show 'Lenny' as a mere TD-16 in the West Caribbean, mentioning that they keep an eye on it for the viewing audience.
    This evening, one local radio station has a church service and another has a US sports game (probably football).  Another just plays music from the 80's.

    It will be interesting again, to say the least.


    - Sandwiched...
    • From: Herman van der Heide <boo AT viaccess.net>
    • Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 13:24:48 -0400

    And once again, Nature demands our attention.  Just when local people thought 1999's hurricane was over, here comes Tropical Depression 16 from the West and heading East!!!

    The local forecast for the upcoming days has more rain in store for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  The islands can't absorb much more rain as the grounds are already quite saturated.  Especially PR can't handle the forecast influx of water!  It's rivers are getting close to overflowing their banks.  Here in St. Thomas the grounds can't cope with much more water either, so it looks like the coming rains will have the potential of causing some land (mud) slides and will definitely close local schools; as this seem to be the rule whenever it rains.

    The NWS forecaster from PR, "Weather Summary for PR and the VI" (http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/pr/summary.html), quipped this morning that he is collecting wood materials for his 'Ark'.  Let's hope he has the proper building and environmental permits and doesn't break any "Protected Species" regulations. ;-)

    Today (11/14), we're being sandwiched between numerous strong clouds located east-northeast of the Windward Islands and Tropical Depression 16 coming from the West!  See (http://www.upr.clu.edu/nws/satrad.html).
    The system to our East (>) is moving west (<) and TD-16, to our West (<), is moving East (>).  One way or the other, we will be getting weather from either (or both) systems.
    TD-16 is forecast to become a Tropical Storm (it will be named 'Lenny') in the next 12 to 24 hours.  The NHC forecaster, as of 11:00 this morning, is waiting for a report from the Hurricane Hunter plane that is scheduled to fly into the system this afternoon, before upgrading the system
    The (11/14, 11:00) forecast track places 'Lenny' 64 nm west-southwest of St. Thomas coming Wednesday (11/17) morning at 08:00.
    The center of the low pressure system will be over the south coast of Puerto Rico around the Ponce area.  That means the we'll be getting SW-S-SE etc. winds here in the Virgin Islands.  With an 11% strike probability in 72 hours, the odds are pretty good that the system will have an impact on the VI.
    The combination of the (strong) SW'erly upper level steering winds and a low that's forecast to move off the US east coast makes for the rather 'unusual' track of TD-16.
    Since yesterday morning, the local wind are from the SW-W and it's an odd sight to see the airplanes landing toward the West (runway 28) on the airport.  Normal usage of the airport is runway 10 (to the East) since the predominant trade winds come from that direction.

    Barometer has been dropping slowly for the last two days.  Right now, the pressure is 1007.1 mb (29.74 in.) and still dropping.
    Local Nexrad radar from San Juan (http://www.intellicast.com/LocalWeather/World/Caribbean/PuertoRico/SanJuan/BaseReflectivity/)
    shows more showers moving this way, so it probably ain't going to be a good beach day.  Guess we'll just wait a week and then the beach will have it's usual allure again.


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