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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesHURRICANE WATCH UP FOR DEBBY; PARK ON ALERT

HURRICANE WATCH UP FOR DEBBY; PARK ON ALERT

At 11 p.m. Sunday, a hurricane watch was issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands while one remained in effect for Sint Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba, even though Tropical Storm Debby had not been upgraded to hurricane status as of that hour.
At the same time, a tropical storm watch was in effect for the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, St. Barth's and St. Martin.
At 11 p.m. Sunday, Debby's center was located near latitude 15.4 north and longitude 52.9 west, or about 550 miles (805 km) east of the Leeward Islands. The tropical storm was moving toward west-northwest at about 18 mph (30 km/hr), and that motion was expected to continue on Monday.
Maximum sustained winds were estimated near 50 mph (85 km/hr), with higher gusts and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 145 miles (230 km) to the northeast of the storm center. Some strengthening was forecast for the next 24 hours.
Tropical Storm Debby formed Sunday morning out of a tropical depression about 1,050 miles east of the Virgin Islands after Tropical Depression Chris weakened Saturday morning into a broad area of low pressure northeast of the Leeward Islands.
The National Park Service directed boaters to vacate moorings throughout V.I. National Park waters as of Friday. It said vessels seeking hurricane shelter would not be permitted to tie up at the park finger pier or bulkhead at the new visitor center in Cruz Bay but should seek refuge at a designated emergency anchoring area. On land within the park, all visitor services were suspended until further notice, and beachgoers were advised to use caution.
The park moved into "Incident Command" mode Friday just a week after a two-day emergency preparedness drill that involved clearing debris to allow for free flow of storm waters, making generator power checks and preparing unoccupied park buildings for possible use. Park Acting Supt. Judy Shafer said the action was precautionary, "should the tropical depression located east of the islands strengthen and continue toward our direction."
That depression was Chris, but the park remained on alert as Debby developed on a path toward the territory.

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