After several days of dithering around trying to get stronger, a huge low-pressure system headed this way finally became Tropical Storm Emily at the National Hurricane Center’s 8 p.m. update on Monday. The Virgin Islands is now on a tropical storm watch, which means that a tropical storm conditions are possible over the next 48 hours.
“St. Croix will probably get it a lot heavier because it’s closer to the center,” Robert Mitchell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan, said Monday.
He expects the center to track about 100 miles south of St. Croix Tuesday afternoon, but that could change a bit as Emily gets closer to the Virgin Islands. Emily could also get stronger, Mitchell said.
Storm conditions are expected to materialize around 2 a.m. Tuesday when the outermost bands reach the area. He expects the storm to begin intensifying in earnest by about noon Tuesday.
It’s a huge storm, which means that the territory will get wind and rain through at least Wednesday.
The storm’s bands extend 150 to 180 miles to the north and northeast, Mitchell said.
Mitchell expects six to 10 inches of rain to fall across the Virgin Islands and wind gusts to hit tropical storm force (maximum winds of at least 39 miles per hour).
As of 8 p.m., Emily’s center was 15.2 degrees north latitude and 62 degrees west longitude or about 50 miles west southwest of Dominica.
The storm was moving west at 17 mph with winds of 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph. The barometric pressure stands at 1006 millibars or 29.70 inches.