Sept. 5, 2004 Hurricane Ivan, upgraded from a tropical storm at the 5 a.m. update on Sunday, continues to swirl ever closer to the Leeward Islands. While its current track takes it about 190 to 200 miles south of St. Croix on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane, forecasters worry that a wobble could push it north toward the Virgin Islands.
"We need to monitor this. It's too close for comfort especially as a Category 3," said Brian Seeley, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in San Juan. He predicted Hurricane Ivan would pass about 220 to 230 miles south of St. Thomas and St. John
Hurricane force winds extend outward 25 miles from the storm's center. Tropical storm force winds reach 125 miles from the storm's center. And the territory remains in what forecasters call the zone of uncertainty, meaning that a slight change in the storm's track could send Hurricane Ivan our way.
Seeley said that hurricanes that track south of the Virgin Islands are particularly dangerous to the territory because the stronger winds are on the north side of the storm.
"And the winds on the north side extend further out than the south," he said.
As of 11 a.m. Sunday, Hurricane Ivan is centered at 9.9 degrees north latitude and 46.0 degrees west longitude. This puts it about 1,040 miles east of the Lesser Antilles
Winds are 85 mph with gusts to 105 mph. The storm is expected to continue strengthening.
Hurricane Ivan is moving west at 20 mph. The pressure stands at 980 millibars or 28.93 inches.
Seeley said that since it is a long Labor Day weekend, he feared that residents weren't paying attention to the weather. They could find on Tuesday that they haven't much time to batten down the hatches.
He said the Hurricane Ivan is the strongest storm on record to form at such low latitude.
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