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U.S. Virgin Islands: The Effects of Hurricane Earl

Categories: Caribbean, Latin America, Barbados, Jamaica, Puerto Rico (U.S.), US Virgin Islands, Breaking News, Environment, Migration & Immigration

Hurricane Earl [1] made its way across the U.S. Virgin Islands yesterday as bloggers continued to share their thoughts and experiences. Jamaican diaspora blogger Labrish [2], who “[has] been fortunate to travel to these islands several times”, was concerned about her acquaintances there:

My thoughts go out to everyone living on the islands with hopes that Earl spares you too much damage and that Fiona, fast following in Earl's tracks, will bypass you.

She may well have had reason to be concerned: My Barbados Blog [3], noting that Earl had already reached Category 4 status, linked to a Twitpic [4] photo of Earl by NASA Astronaut, Douglas H. Wheelock, candidly commenting:

It's a Beast!

News of St. John‘s intermittent updates [5] were helpful (although the blogger felt [6] that the islands’ Federal Emergency Management Agency could have been a little more helpful themselves), and StormCarib.com [7] provided even more information, since it published “what several people who are there are reporting, from their vantage”. The site's update at about 3:30 p.m. yesterday said:

Here is the latest from several people on the eastern side of St. John, USVI — there are a few branches down, but very little damage reported at this point during the passing of Hurricane Earl. There are wind gusts reported around 40 mphs, and that has been ongoing, but limited rain. Power has been off and on, mainly off right now. Internet is spotty if at all.

Given the strength of the storm and the forecast track, it will be interesting
to see what, if anything, the next few hours bring.

Those next few hours brought better news than expected; apart from a blown transformer and strong winds estimated to be within a 110 mph range, there was no major damage reported. Things soon began to quiet down:

Everyone I've been in contact with still has hard-line phone service — and
that is great news. If I hear anything noteworthy, I will pass it along. We
are grateful that are friends have made it through.

Unfortunately, the blog did get a subsequent report of damage:

My sister and brother in law live on St John, (Contant area)…just spoke w/her by phone. She said things really picked up after nine last night. One house lost its roof, lots of rain. They lost power yesterday a.m. A tree took out the line to their house, WAPA said they would be up first thing this morning but the winds are still too strong.

Live De Life [8] also gave an interesting account of what the storm was like:

We're still here, haven't blown away…the eye wall went by around 3pm and the wind and rain just stopped. Jay ran down the road and picked up a boatie friend of ours so he could come stay with us. He said he saw some trees down and loose limbs, some water runoff but not too bad overall.

Around 6pm the winds and rain started coming down harder than it had all day. And it was coming from west and south west which was the wrap around bands. It was pretty bad. But now at 9 pm it's not too bad. It's still raining and you can hear the wind blowing but nothing too fierce.

In the blog's most recent post [9] (this morning), Deb and Jay wrote:

Well, we came through Earl pretty good…the seas have calmed down but the water is a strange aqua color. I guess from being churned up. Still have a little bit of wind but it's calmed down dramatically over the last hour. So overall, all is well :-)

It remains to be seen whether Puerto Rico and the United States [10] fare as well.