Archive | Climate/Weather


Strengthening Hurricane Maria closes in on Leeward Islands

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sept 18, CMC – Hurricane Maria was rapidly intensifying into a major hurricane with weather forecasters predicting that the eye of the storm would move through the Leeward Islands later on Monday.

In its 11.00 am (local time) weather bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the Category 3 storm moving towards the west-northwest near 10 miles per hour (mph) and this motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night.

Mariai“On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands late today and tonight, over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night, and approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday,” the NHc said.

Hurricane Maria, which is coming less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma swept through the Leeward Islands killing more than 40 people and causing millions of dollars in damages, is now located about 60 miles east of Martinique and 95 miles, east south east of Dominica.

It has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and NHC said “additional rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

“Maria is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane as it moves through the Leeward Islands and the northeastern Caribbean Sea,” the NHC said, warning that hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.

A Hurricane warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat , St. Lucia and Martinique, while a hurricane watch has been issued for Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands,  British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy and Anguilla

A Tropical Storm warning is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St. Eustatius while

Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been placed under a tropical storm watch.

The regional airline, LIAT, has announced the cancellation of 23 flights for Monday in the wake of the hurricane. It said most of the cancel flights are between St Vincent to St Lucia, Antigua, Dominica and St Kitts.

Dominica and St. Lucia have already announced a close down of businesses, schools and other non-essential services while in St. Kitts-Nevis, banks have advised customers that they would be closing from midday.

NHC warned that hurricane conditions are first expected within portions of the Leeward Islands by late Monday, with tropical storm conditions beginning during the day.

It said hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area by Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible tonight.  Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area through tonight.

Hurricane Maria is expected to produce total rain accumulations of six to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the central and southern Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, through Wednesday night.

“Maria is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of two to four inches with isolated maximum amounts of eight inches over the remaining northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla, as well as the Windward Islands and Barbados.  Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” NHC added.

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St. Lucia jolted by earthquake

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Sept 15, CMC Adapted – An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 jolted St. Lucia on Friday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages.

earthquakeThis when St. Lucia prepares to join other OECS territories in the North Caribbean, the Lesser Antilles already suffering from the onslaught of Irma in defending itself against 90 mph winds and hurricane conditions when Maria passes by on Monday.

The Trinidad-based Seismic Research centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) said that the quake occurred at 6.58 am (local time) and was also felt in the neighbouring islands of Dominica and Martinique.

It said the quake, which was recorded at 112 km north-north east of the capital, occurred at a depth of 29 km.

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Antiguan envoy meets emergency agencies, major countries on relief for hurricane-wreaked Barbuda

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, CMC – Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States (OAS), Sir Ronald Sanders, on Wednesday met with the Inter-American Emergency Aid Committee and representatives of major countries to discuss the devastating impact on Barbuda by the recent passage of Hurricane Irma.
SanderssSanders made “emotive presentations to the representatives of both groups who were visibly moved by a video presentation of the destruction of Barbuda and the evacuation of all its residents to Antigua,” according an Antigua and Barbuda Government statement issued here.

The Emergency Aid Committee included the Pan American Development Fund, the Inter-American Defence Board, the Pan American Health Organisation and the Inter-American Committee on Agriculture.

Major countries at the second meeting included Italy, Japan, Monaco, the European Union, the United States France, Spain and Switzerland, the statement said.

Sanders described the present situation in Barbuda as “uninhabitable”, including the possibility of disease resulting from dead animals and unclean water infiltration.

“It is very fortunate that Antigua had only relatively minor damage from Hurricane Irma and is now functioning normally, with the result that it could take in the inhabitants of Barbuda and provide for them on an immediate basis,” he said.

“But there is a natural desire by the Barbudan community to return to the island – something that is difficult until basic services can be restored,” he added, stressing that even these basic services “have a high cost that is beyond the resources of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda alone”.

Sir Ronald said that Antigua and Barbuda has a US$1 billion economy “but is facing a rebuilding cost of in excess of US$250 million.” a

The statement noted that  donor countries pointed out that, “in order for Barbuda to face up to future storms of this kind, it would have to be rebuilt differently and to higher standards that could resist hurricanes.”

In agreeing with this observation, the Antiguan envoy said: “This is precisely why the country requires international help.”

He said that Prime Minister Gaston Browne is already engaged about the need for a “careful and well documented plan for the rebuilding of Barbuda that is sustainable, viable and ‘bankable’ to attract the necessary funding.”

Several agencies, such as USAID and the Pan American Health Organisation, indicated that their emergency response teams are already sending in relief material to help cope with immediate needs, according to the statement.

Later on Wednesday, Sanders made a presentation to US government officials and Congressional representatives at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, the statement said.

“It is vitally important to knock on every door, to speak to everyone, to spread knowledge,” Sanders said. “I am painfully aware that the devastation of Barbuda could become yesterday’s story to the international media.  It is crucial to act now and at all levels.”

Meantime, the Consulate General of Antigua and Barbuda in Miami said on Wednesday that it is opening a warehouse in Miami for the receipt of hurricane relief items for Barbuda.

Consul General Gilbert Boustany said items needed include pampers, baby formula, wipes, personal hygiene items, canned foods, medical supplies, and rolling beds with mattresses.

“Once the rebuilding effort begins, the Government will then enter into a secondary phase of requests, whereby items such as building materials would be essential,” he said.

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St. Vincent government treading cautiously

by Kenton X. Chance

ROAD TOWN, British Virgin Islands, Sept 14, CMC — The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government says it will use the feedback from meetings with its nationals in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to determine the course of action it will take regarding repatriating them in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Irma last week.

Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar, who along with Minister of Economic Planning, Camillo Gonsalves, Wednesday visited the BVI, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that they were here to do critical assessments of the circumstances affecting their Vincentians.

BVVI 2About 10 per cent of the residents of the BVI are nationasl of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and some of them have lived in the British Overseas Territory more than three decades.

Caesar said that the Ralph Gonsalves government is particularly concerned about the education of the children, especially since Premier,Dr. D. Orlando Smith, informed  the delegation that it could take some time for school to reopen.

“It is going to be a bit more time and we will converse with the parents and see what is really best in the circumstances for the students,” said Caesar whose delegation was scheduled to meet with Vincentians on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

Hurricane Irma, a destructive Category 5 hurricane, impacted the BVI on September 6 with winds of 185mph, causing widespread damage to the road infrastructure, housing stock, ports, telecommunications, electrical infrastructure and critical facilities.

The storm claimed seven lives and left an indeterminate number of injured persons, disaster management officials said this week.

An estimated 351 people are being accommodated in 10 temporary shelters throughout the BVI and prior to impact, 106 of them were evacuated from Anegada, another island in the archipelago.

Preliminary assessments indicate that 60 to 80 per cent of the buildings in the BVI are damaged or destroyed with a large percentage of the building roofs being severely compromised.

Electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure has been severely damaged and electricity is only being provided through generators.

Piped water facility is not functional due to the lack of electricity and there is a limited stock of potable water available

Caesar told CMC that he is aware that a lot of Vincentian parents in the BVI will be very occupied in the reconstruction process and it is going to be very difficult to sustain the welfare and the well-being of children at home if they are not in school.

“So I see that, in appropriate measure, we may have to accept more students at home,” Caesar said.

He said a number of Vincentians in the BVI have contacted the Ministry of education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to inquire about the transfer of their students.

“And we will make sure that if there is going to be a movement of students into the system in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in fact we have a representative from the Minister of Education is here, … who is here to do that assessment to make sure that if there is a movement, that it is seamless.”

Gonsalves told CMC that Kingstown has to ensure that whatever it does is in the best interest of the individuals.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as I indicated earlier, has a significant population in the BVI — about 10 per cent of the population. We don’t have, frankly, the capacity or the resources to instantaneously accept 2,5000 residents or more into St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Sustainable Development.

“So we don’t want to make blanket commitments at this point. We want to do an evaluation,” he said, adding that Kingstown was heartened to know that most of the Vincentians want to stay in the BVI and rebuild.

“But we also know that there are particular instances of the children in school, or the elderly, who may require special care, of people who have constructed homes back in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with money that they have earned here in the BVI and have family members and it may be better for them to be in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We want to do that assessment and approach it in a systematic, structured manner with some data. We don’t want to make blanket statements. We want to have some formal decision making and that’s why we are here,” Gonsalves added.

The ministers’ comments came one day after Vincent Whatley, a senior official of the BVI government with responsibilities for Virgin Gorda, Jos Van Dyke, and Anegada, suggested that non-nationals who cannot find work should leave the territory.

Gonsalves said that was happy to learn that most of the Vincentians in the BVI see themselves as BV Islanders and see themselves as part of people who want to assist in the reconstruction.

He said that arrival in the BVI on Wednesday, he asked members at the team to make an assessment at the airport regarding the persons who were queuing up to leave and he was heartened that Vincentians are not among them.

Gonsalves said that most Vincentians have been significantly affected by the storm but want to stay to help in the recovery process.

“BVI has been kind to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and we see that as an opportunity to repay that kindness,” he said.

The authorities in St. Vincent said that a a boat will leave the island on Friday to take supplies for nationals in the BVI. It will also make a stop in St. Lucia before arriving here four days later.

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Prime Minister meets nationals living in Anguilla

St Kitts Nevis to accommodate CXC students from hurricane affected countries

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Sep. 14, CMC – The government of St. Kitts Nevis has offered to accommodate secondary school students from islands that were severely affected by the passage Hurricane Irma, and who are registered to sit Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams.

The Dr. Timonty Harris led administration has offered to temporary accommodation in response to  the needs of those affected countries, as they seek to rebuild and return to a state of normalcy.

Prime Minister meets nationals living in Anguilla
Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris meets
nationals living in Anguilla

Harris was part of an OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) Monetary Council delegation that visited the storm-affected island of Anguilla on Wednesday where he met with over 100 St. Kitts and Nevis nationals  and identified focal points of assistance.

One area of concern identified during that consultation was the consideration for students of those affected countries, particularly those who are registered to sit CXC exams.

As a result, Harris announced that accommodations are being made for displaced students in Anguilla, St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands who are registered for upcoming CXC exams.

“These persons will be offered free enrollment in our schools until their own high schools are ready to accommodate them. We have prioritized those who are about to write the CXC exam…because the only high school in Anguilla has been significantly damaged – maybe 90 percent of it. The Government of Anguilla has said that they would be ready for October. That is as it is a prediction, an expectation, but the parents and guardians are concerned that they may have a long time and they are rightly concerned if they think that their students will be disadvantaged from a long closure of the high school,” said Harris during a press conference on Thursday.

In addition, the Government has made its hospitals available to residents of neighbouring islands should the need for health services be required.

St. Kitts and Nevis has also offered the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport as a staging platform for relief efforts to St. Barths, St. Eustatius, French St. Martin, Saba and Dutch St. Maarten, and has also provided diplomatic clearance for foreign vessels that could not safely get into the waters of French St. Martin.

The Prime Minister also revealed that the federation has provided entry to 251 persons, who were processed at the sea ports.

“Of this number, 81 persons held U.S. passports, 42 of them held St. Kitts and Nevis passports – so those were our nationals coming back home – 42 held French passports, 36 held passports from the Netherlands, 15 held passports from India, 7 held passports from Guyana, 1 held passport from Trinidad and Tobago, 4 held passports from Taiwan, 7 held passports from Ireland and 2 held passports from Russia. All passengers were processed by Immigration Officers, Customs and Excise Officers, health officials were on hand including Veterinary Officers, and officers of the K-9 Unit were also on hand,”  Harris stated, adding, “Immigration officers have reported that all these passengers had adequate documentation.”

He also said that the government is prepared to assist in the restoration of electricity supply to Anguilla and to any other island that requests such assistance.

“In our moment of great need, when persons here were becoming impatient after a hurricane…when electricity had gone out as a result of fallen pole lines and poles etc., it was the good Government of St. Lucia that volunteered – they didn’t let us come to ask – it volunteered the services of several persons to assist in the restoration of our electricity supply. We are grateful for the assistance of the Government of St. Lucia. We want to return the favour to other countries similarly displaced, as we were the recipient of the good graces of another country,” the prime minister said.

He stressed that these outreach efforts being made available by the St. Kitts and Nevis Government are manageable and “will make a significant difference in the efforts to restore those countries now impacted to a state of normalcy.”

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LIAT commences relief flights to St Maarten and BVI


ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Sep. 14, CMC  – Regional airline, LIAT on Thursday started limited flight operations into St. Marteen and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, both of which were  severely affected by the passage of Hurricane Irma.

LIAT ATRThe Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten and the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport in Tortola suffered extensive damage and have been  closed to commercial operations.

With the relief flights, LIAT is only transporting passengers out of these destinations.

“We will not carry any commercial passengers into these destinations. This is in accordance with the conditions established by the authorities in St. Maarten and the BVI that prohibits the entry of commercial passengers,” the airline noted.

Meanwhile,  LIAT will continue to assist the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in moving personnel and relief supplies into the affected area.

Passengers in the affected destinations are being urged to contact LIAT’s Reservations Department for more information on the flight schedule.


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The medical team prepares to board the Cayman Airways flight to Anguilla, which was chartered for the humanitarian mission. Two nurses from Health City Cayman Islands joined the group of medical professionals from the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority on the relief effort.

Health City Cayman Islands joins hurricane Irma relief effort


by Sarah Munn

The medical team prepares to board the Cayman Airways flight to Anguilla, which was chartered for the humanitarian mission. Two nurses from Health City Cayman Islands joined the group of medical professionals from the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority on the relief effort.

CAYMAN ISLANDS (September 13, 2017) – Health City Cayman Islands is part of a relief effort being coordinated by the Cayman Islands Government to send supplies, medicines and medical staff to Anguilla, a fellow British Overseas Territory.

Dr. Chandy Abraham, CEO and Medical Director of the Caribbean tertiary care hospital, said that Health City and the Cayman Islands community are shocked and saddened at the level of devastation in the northeastern Caribbean.

“We want to send our support to our Caribbean family who have been impacted by Hurricane Irma,” said Dr. Abraham, who added that the Caymanian community is being mobilized to provide aid and relief to help the affected islands in their recovery efforts.

Health City Cayman Islands staff load boxes of much-needed medicines for transport to Anguilla as part of a relief mission led by the Cayman Islands Government.

Dr. Abraham explained that medical relief efforts will center first on the critically ill and injured in Anguilla, where one person is known to have died as a result of Hurricane Irma. Housing and infrastructure have also been severely damaged there.

Health City has sent three staff members and more than US$30,000 in medicines to the hurricane-ravaged island. The Health City personnel have joined with staff from the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, Hazard Management Cayman Islands and the Department of Environmental Health to form the relief mission.

A Cayman Airways flight loaded with relief supplies, medical and disaster management staff, medicines, water and non-perishable foods departed Grand Cayman for Anguilla on Tuesday, September 12 at 11 a.m.

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin announced the government-led relief mission on Monday, September 11, the 13th anniversary of the landfall of Category 5 Hurricane Ivan in the Cayman Islands in 2004. The island of Grand Cayman was severely damaged by that storm.

Premier McLaughlin said: “Most of us know too well the devastation and despair that arises in the wake of a hurricane, especially those of us who lived through our own catastrophic storms of Ivan in 2004 and Paloma in 2008. We know well it was our neighbors from the region and our families and friends who ensured that we got much-needed supplies. It is time for us to pay it forward.”

The relief team from the Cayman Islands is scheduled to remain in Anguilla for two weeks.

The Cayman Islands Government has also provided post-Irma assistance to fellow British Overseas Territories, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the form of police equipment and staff. 

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Update on the Islands - Saturday

Update on the Islands – Saturday

As of Saturday:

  1. Martin French & Dutch- Badly damaged. Currently ships are heading there by this afternoon they should have items. No communication via telephone is activate right now. About 95% persons including hotels are badly damaged. The airport is off limit right now. So contact with family is very difficult hopefully by tomorrow latest. Lets keep praying.

2.Tortola – Everything is gone. East End is badly damaged . Even those who on the hills . The winds was terribly and broke , tore and mashed in everything. Communication lines are still down. Hopefully by tomorrow also. Stay put and keep ears to ground.

  1. Virgin Gorda and Arnegarda – Mash up . Majority flooded by water . out of communication, won’t be up until mainland restore.
  1. Antigua & Barbuda. – Antigua is ok. Recovering and trying to evacuating persons from Barbuda who lost everything.
  1. St. Thomas – USVI Students on campus are safe. Outskirts are in terrible conditions. Communication are still down, currently working on to be restored.
  1. Anguilla – Damaged badly also. Minimal communication, but working on restoring in some areas is a task. Also, because near to sea level still have tremendous flooding in certain areas.
  1. Barbuda devestation

    St. Barth’s – Damaged. No power No communication.

Preparations were underway for Jose – it veered away to the Atlantic to a circled path potentially pointing to Bahamas and Florida



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Jose forecasted to pass further north of Montserrat than Irma

Hurricane Jose strengthening, nearly a Category 5 storm

After Harvey and Irma, Jose is the third straight Atlantic tropical system to become a Category 4 storm

Jose – Top line, Irma below

Jose remains a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph. The storm is moving west-northwest at 14 mph, threatening the island of Barbuda, which has already been nearly decimated by Hurricane Irma.

A hurricane warning was put into effect Friday for Barbuda and Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Barts. A hurricane watch remained in effect for Antigua.

11 p.m.

Hurricane Jose is growing more powerful and nearing Category 5 strength.

Jose is moving west-northwest near 17 mph. A turn toward the northwest with a decrease in speed is expected Friday night and through the weekend. The core of Jose will pass close or just east of the northern Leeward Islands.

Maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph with higher gusts. Some fluctuation in intensity, up or down, could occur over the weekend. Gradual weakening is
expected after that.

8 p.m.

The tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda has no time to clean up the major devastation left by Hurricane Irma as it braces for its second major hurricane in four days.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Barbuda, which lies in the forecast path of Hurricane Jose, expected to slam into the island Saturday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

So dire is the threat to the island that any of the 1,800 residents who didn’t already flee before Irma are being evacuated by a flotilla of ferries being sent from Antigua, the other major island in the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

The eye of Jose will pass just east of Barbuda on Saturday afternoon, the hurricane center said in its Friday afternoon advisory. A “dangerous” storm surge a

Jose forecasted at 3.00 a.m. to pass further north of Montserrat than Irma

ccompanied by “large and destructive waves” will raise water levels by more than two feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane warning areas, and between 3 and 5 inches of rain is expected with the storm.


The following watches and warnings are in effect:

Antigua has issued a hurricane warning for Barbuda and Anguilla.

France has issued a warning for St. Martin and Barthelemy.

There is a hurricane warning issued for Sint Maarten.


A hurricane warning is in effect for…

* Barbuda and Anguilla
* Sint Maarten
* St. Martin
* St. Barthelemy

A watch is in effect for…
* Antigua

A tropical storm warning is in effect for…
* Antigua
* Saba and St. Eustatius

A tropical storm watch is in effect for…
* Montserrat, St Kitts, and Nevis
* British Virgin Islands
* St. Thomas and St. John

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Friday - 5 p.m.

A little detail, what to expect in Montserrat and northern Leeward Islands

Friday – 5 p.m.

MIAMI, USA — As category 4 Hurricane Jose continued to move towards the same northern Leeward Islands that were battered just two days ago by Hurricane Irma, new hurricane warnings have been issued for Anguilla, Barbuda, St Martin, St Barthelemy and St Maarten. A hurricane watch is in effect for Antigua.

The entire population of Barbuda – some 1,600 people – have now been evacuated from the island. which is to all intents and purposes currently uninhabitable following the almost total devastation wrought by Irma early Wednesday morning.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Antigua, Saba and St Eustatius. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, British Virgin Islands, St Thomas and St John.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, the eye of Hurricane Jose was located about 335 miles (540 km) east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h). A turn toward the northwest with a decrease in forward speed is forecast on Friday night through the weekend. On the forecast track, the core of Jose will pass close to or just east of the northern Leeward Islands.

Maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts. Jose is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuation in intensity, up or down, could occur during the next day or so. Gradual weakening is expected after that. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).

Hurricane conditions are likely within the hurricane warning area on Saturday. Hurricane conditions are also possible within the hurricane watch area on Saturday. Tropical storm conditions are expected within the tropical storm warning areas by Saturday morning. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area in the northeastern Leeward Islands by Saturday morning and in the watch area in the Virgin Islands by Saturday night.

Jose is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches in the Leeward Islands from Guadeloupe to Anguilla, with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches. Jose is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the Virgin Islands and Dominica. This rainfall will maintain any ongoing flooding and may cause additional life-threatening flooding.

A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast in the hurricane warning areas. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Swells generated by Jose are affecting portions of the Leeward Islands. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017