Aug. 31, 2003 — Hurricane Fabian is now a powerful and dangerous Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph and higher gusts, but forecasters on Sunday afternoon continued to predict that the storm will miss the Virgin Islands.
"But you could get some moisture," said Brad Diehl, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan.
The hurricane is now tracking west-northwest at 10 mph. Diehl said there is a subtropical ridge out over the Atlantic that will experience a slight weakness over the next day or two. This will allow the hurricane to make the predicted turn to the northwest.
However, he urged residents to continue to monitor the storm in case there's an unexpected shift in the weather.
As of 11 p.m. Sunday, Hurricane Fabian was centered at 18.5 degrees north latitude and 54.8 degrees west longitude. St. Thomas sits at 18.3 degrees north latitude and 65.0 degrees west longitude. St. John is located at 18.2 degrees north latitude and 64.5 degrees west longitude. St. Croix is at 17.7 degrees north latitude and 64.8 degrees west longitude.
The hurricane is about 460 miles east of Barbuda in the northern Leeward Islands.
The pressure is 940 millibars, or 27.76 inches.
Diehl said the storm is expected to pass 330 miles northeast of the Virgin Islands on Tuesday morning, 245 miles northeast of the Virgin Islands on Tuesday afternoon, and 390 miles due north on Wednesday morning.
Hurricane force winds extend outward 35 miles, with tropical storm force winds reaching 125 miles outward.
Diehl said the storm could strengthen further. "Over the open ocean, there's nothing to stop it," he said.
Hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30, but hurricanes can occur at any time of the year.
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