Residents of the Virgin Islands anxiously monitor the weather news during hurricane season, fearing that a repeat of the 2017 devastation might occur. Although it’s rare for these storms to strike the same place two years in a row, people know this is possible. For a business owner like David Johnson Cane Bay is home, and the charitable arm of Cane Bay Partners kept busy over the past year soliciting and matching donations and finding ways to provide supplies.
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
In mid-September 2018, the storm these people had to worry about was Isaac, categorized as a tropical storm instead of a hurricane. Those weather events can still wreak havoc, but they are not as severe.
Hurricanes often are categorized at level 4 or 5 in the ocean but weaken to lower categories or to the tropical storm designation as they near the coast. Storm systems tend to weaken as they approach land, but since the Caribbean islands do not include large amounts of land, they can be hit particularly hard. The categories relate to wind speeds, but even weaker storms can dump enormous amounts of rain on specific areas, especially if the storm’s movement slows.
Tropical Storm Isaac
Tropical storm Isaac is expected to cause wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour on St. Croix and only about two inches of rain. The center of the storm will pass about 100 miles south. Area residents are relieved about this, but they know that hurricane season is not over yet. Disaster response for severe storms is provided by the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Hurricanes are so unpredictable that every time one begins to develop somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, people along the coasts and in the islands are understandably nervous. Those storms can build up to a category 5 hurricane and weaken long before they reach land, but they also sometimes hit with sustained wind speeds of far over 100 miles per hour and bring drenching rains. Category 5 sustained wind speeds are more than 156 miles per hour.