May 9, 2007 – Although the official start of hurricane season is more than three weeks away, the first named storm of the 2007 season, Subtropical Storm Andrea, formed Wednesday morning off the coast of Florida.
It poses no threat to the Virgin Islands.
Walter Snell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan, said that the territory already received swells from the weather leading up to the storm, but those swells have subsided.
He said Andrea carries the "subtropical" designation because it has a cold core rather than the warm core found in tropical storms.
On the 2007 Hurricane Season name list Andrea is followed by Barry, Chantal, Dean, Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Noel, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, and Wendy.
At 11 a.m., Andrea had winds of 45 mph. The storm was centered about 140 miles southeast of Savannah, 30.8 degrees north latitude and 79.3 degrees west longitude. It is moving west at 3 mph. Tropical storm watches are posted along the southern Georgia and northern Florida coasts.
Acting V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency Director Steve Parris said that the storm's early arrival is definitely a wake-up call. "Start getting prepared," he said.
According to Parris, residents should pick up debris around their yards and start stockpiling nonperishables so they're ready, should a storm hit.
Parris suggested that residents buy a little extra each time they shop to spread the expense out over time.
"If you buy a case of water, buy an extra bottle," he said.
He reminded residents that although hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, storms can form at any time during the year.
Parris said that self-sufficiency is the best preparation. He said that in the wake of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has stressed that states and territories are responsible for disaster response.
"FEMA is the coordinating agency," he said.
He said that VITEMA has been meeting regularly with other federal and local agencies to improve the territory's ability to respond to disasters.
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