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TD #9 gets a name; Tropical Storm Isaias forms packing 60mph winds

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Courtesy of The Bahamas Department of Meteorology

#AtlanticBasin – July 30, 2020 – Tropical Depression number nine, forecast to become the earliest ‘I’ named storm in history has finally earned that name: Isaias.  In the wee hours of Thursday morning, TD#9 evolved from a tropical depression to a Tropical Storm with wind gusts up to 60 mph.

The National Hurricane Center, at 2 a.m. informed that Puerto Rico should expect strong rain bands from the tropical storm which has triggered storm watches and warnings for at least 10 Caribbean region countries.

Tropical Storm Isaias slowed from racing across the region at nearly 30 mph to now pacing at 21 mph in a north-westerly direction.  Hispaniola, home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic will experience storm conditions this morning and worse, the storm could become a killer.

“Isaias will produce heavy rains and potentially life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides across the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, northern Haiti, and over the southeastern Bahamas.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands, which has been on Tropical Storm Watch since Wednesday at 12 a.m. has announced a national lockdown by noon Thursday and shelters are due to open at 4pm.

The southeastern Bahamas will experience conditions on Thursday afternoon and the central Bahama islands are predicted to shoulder powerful 60 mph wind conditions throughout the day on Friday.

“Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Central Bahamas beginning Friday morning and are possible in the northwestern Bahamas beginning late Friday.”

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The National Hurricane Center advisory informs that British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, northern Haiti, Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and eastern Cuba will receive between three and six inches of rain.

Even higher rainfalls are forecast for The Bahamas; from four to eight inches. Life threatening surf and rip currents are expected from today due to approaching Tropical Storm Isaias. 

“Swells generated by Isaias will be affecting portions of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico through today. These swells are forecast to reach the north coast of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas this morning.”

The National Hurricane Center, in the latest advisory informs:

The Tropical Storm Warning for St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, St.

Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius has been discontinued.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra

* U.S. Virgin Islands

* British Virgin Islands

* Dominican Republic entire southern and northern coastlines

* North coast of Haiti from Le Mole St Nicholas eastward to the

northern border with the Dominican Republic

* Turks and Caicos Islands

* Southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long

Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, and the Ragged Islands

* Central Bahamas, including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island,

Rum Cay, and San Salvador

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

* Northwestern Bahamas including Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abacos Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahamas Island, and Bimini

Interests in Cuba and the Florida peninsula should monitor the progress of this system.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

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Bahamas News

Elsa Menaces Caribbean on its Way to South East of the US

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July 6, 2021 – One day after becoming the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season, Elsa weakened back into a tropical storm Saturday as it zeroed in on western Haiti. Conditions in these areas were already deteriorating due to the storm’s strong winds, heavy rain and inundating storm surge.

The storm underwent rapid intensification one day earlier, becoming a hurricane early Friday morning as it raced toward the Caribbean Islands.

Within 24 hours, Elsa went from tropical-storm strength with 40-mph winds to a Category 1 hurricane with 75-mph winds. By its maximum-sustained winds increasing by at least 35 mph within 24 hours, the storm’s strengthening just met the criteria set by the National Hurricane Center qualifying as “rapid intensification.”

AccWeather forecasters are now keeping a close eye on the tropical system as it is expected to approach the United States after moving through the Caribbean through the weekend.

Elsa was about 175 miles southeast of Montego Bay, Jamaica, packing sustained winds of 65 mph and moving quickly toward the west-northwest at 17 mph at 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Tropical-storm-force winds extended out up to 125 miles out from its center. A category 1 hurricane has maximum-sustained winds starting at 74 mph.

The storm weakened on Saturday after peaking in strength on Friday, when its maximum-sustained winds were around 85 mph during the afternoon and evening hours. But the storm has also already been blamed for widespread damage and power outages, including in the islands of Barbados and St. Vincent.

One death was reported in Soufriere, St. Lucia, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. About 30 per cent of customers on the island were without power on Saturday due to damaged power lines. Two other deaths were reported in the Dominican Republic, according to the director for the Dominican Republic’s center for emergency operations.

Elsa ripped roofs off homes, toppled trees and caused flooding in Barbados before introducing heavy rain and wind in St. Vincent Friday. Many power outages were also blamed on Elsa.

As the storm tore through Barbados, Wilfred A. Abrahams, the island’s Minister of Home Affairs Information and Public Affairs, urged residents of the island nation to shelter in place, adding that folks should only leave their homes if the structures are damaged. Authorities in Haiti urged people to evacuate if they lived near water or mountain flanks.

Elsa is also blamed for two deaths in the Dominican Republic; a 15-year old boy and a 75-year old woman.

As of Saturday, AccuWeather forecasters say Elsa is most likely to enter the eastern Gulf of Mexico and approach Florida early this week.

Photo by:  Marlon St. Brice

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Bahamas News

No Drama: June 1, New Atlantic Hurricane Season Officially begins

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#TurksandCaicos, June 2, 2021 – Atlantic Hurricane Season began on Tuesday June 1, and thankfully, it was an uneventful start to what is forecast to be an above average season. 

We can only hope that 2021 does not try to out-do its predecessors: 2019 with the worst hurricane in modern history, Hurricane Dorian and 2020 with thirty named systems which completely exhausted the alphabet, spilling into the Greek alphabet. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA) says it could be between 13 and 20 named systems this go round… six to ten of them could become hurricanes and five of them major hurricanes.  NOAA says it is 70 per cent confident of its forecast which should be less busy than last year. 

In Turks and Caicos, trainings, town meetings, public awareness, shelter inspections, volunteer building and equipment assessments have already happened. 

New in 2021, a TCI Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) free, downloadable app. 

With support from the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the DDME announced the App – available on Apple and Android devices – will lead in keeping islanders informed throughout the season which officially ends on November 30.

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Bahamas News

First Named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season fizzles

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#TurksandCaicos, May 24, 2021 – On Saturday morning came the first Public Advisory on early, but not unusual Tropical Storm Ana.  Her position about 200 miles northeast of Bermuda, put the tiny UK overseas territory under Tropical Storm watch.  Today, the remnants pose no threat to land.

At 11:00 PM AST (0300 UTC), the center of Post-Tropical Cyclone Ana was located near latitude 38.3 North, longitude 55.2 West. The post-tropical cyclone is moving toward the northeast near 28 mph (44km/h), and a northeastward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected through Monday.

Satellite-derived wind data indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast overnight, and Ana is expected to dissipate on Monday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1007 mb (29.74 inches). Hurricane season does not officially begin until June 1.  The trend of early named storms is now commonplace; so much so there is chatter about possibly moving the start date of the Season. 

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