Sept. 9, 2004 While most of the nation is watching Category 5 Hurricane Ivan as its 160 mph winds head for Jamaica, Cuba and most likely an already shell-shocked Florida, Virgin Islands residents need to keep focus what's heading west across the Atlantic.
In the short term, there's nothing to be concerned about, said Brian Seeley, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan.
However, there's a tropical wave about 900 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and another disturbance about 700 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.
"The second wave looks to be more significant," he said.
He said he thinks the first one will bring some rain over the weekend, but it will be quite a few days before the second one arrives.
And, on Thursday morning, Tropical Depression 10 formed southwest of the Azores. This storm will pose no threat to the Virgin Islands or the rest of the Caribbean.
Even Hurricane Frances, now a tropical depression, is still dumping rain south of Lake Ontario. The storm passed north of the Virgin Islands on Aug. 31.
Seeley said Friday is the climatological peak of the hurricane season. However, Virgin Islands residents remember that the two worst hurricanes in recent memory hit the week after. Hurricane Marilyn devastated the territory on Sept. 15 and 16, 1995. Hurricane Hugo hit on Sept. 17 and 18, 1989.
Meanwhile, Virgin Islands residents are seeking information about what happened to friends and family struck by Hurricane Ivan as it whipped through Grenada and neighboring islands.
St. John resident Sharon Coldren said she has friends who sailed south for hurricane season thinking they'd be out of harm's way because hurricanes seldom hit that far south.
"It's very distressing there for everybody," she said.
Reports vary, but Reuters and Associated Press reports this evening put the death toll in Grenada, which felt the eye of the storm, at "at least" 20. Reports said that 85-90 percent of the island was devastated.
St. John psychologist Iris Kern sees that the cumulative effect of Charley, Frances and now Ivan is taking its toll on Virgin Islands residents. The airwaves and print publications are awash with news about Florida's devastation from Hurricanes Charley and Frances as well as a possible hit by Hurricane Ivan.
"And Grenada was flattened, and now Jamaica is about to be flattened. The anxiety increases with every single storm," she said.
Kern suggested that residents stay prepared by keeping their water and food supplies topped up and their generator in tune. She said preparation helps control anxiety.
"What you can't control, give up to the gods," she said.
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