77.8 F
Cruz Bay
Monday, July 22, 2024


Wary Virgin Islanders tried to sleep Wednesday night, hopeful Hurricane Jose would pass them by instead of striking the islands another devastating blow.
The latest forecasts (8 p.m. AST) were cautiously optimistic, predicting Jose just might slide by off the eastern end of St. Thomas Thursday morning, delivering only a glancing blow, similar to what happened with Hurricane Luis in September of 1995.
The next twelve hours would tell. If Jose were to veer toward the west during that time, the islands — especially St. Thomas — would be hit.
Early reports of substantial damage on the island of Antigua contributed to the unease in the Virgin Islands, where as night came the rain was falling and the wind was rising, early warnings that the Category 2 hurricane, with winds up to 100 miles an hour, was on its way.
The hurricane shutters were closed and locked, plywood sheets nailed down against window frames, jugs of drinking water set aside, flashlights, lanterns and battery-powered radios readied, and small generators tested.
Local radio stations called in their staffs, ready to broadcast news of Jose during the night. Virgin Islanders turn to radio, not television, in these emergencies.
Hurricane shelters were opening for business.
Streets shiny with rain were empty except for emergency vehicles, because of a 6 p.m. curfew.
Hundreds of small boats, normally a fixture of the marina scene, were tucked away in hurricane harbors where they might survive if Jose hit the islands straight on.
The giant harbor on St. Thomas was deserted. Cruise ships, including the giant Norway, never showed up today as they steamed out of the path of Jose.
The territory’s two airports closed late this afternoon. Even if Jose spared the islands, it probably would be Friday until jet planes from the mainland returned.
The last ferry from St. Thomas to neighboring St. John departed at 5:30 p.m.
WAPA, which delivers electricity, announced it would continue to generate power until or unless Jose threatened the safety of its plants and workers. The utility warned of downed power lines tomorrow.
Ironically, Monday was Hurricane Supplication Day, a holiday for Virgin Islanders to give thanks for having been spared from another season of hurricanes.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.