79.6 F
Cruz Bay
Friday, May 24, 2024


Dec. 5, 2003 – A St. John jokester once said that the Virgin Islands has two seasons — hurricane season and waiting-for-hurricane season.
With the 2003 hurricane season officially ended on Nov. 30 (but with late-breaking Tropical Storm Odette in action off the northern coast of South America), Colorado State University hurricane forecaster William Gray came out with his 2004 prediction on Thursday to mark the start of waiting-for-hurricane season.
Gray predicted that 13 named storms will form next year, and that seven of them will become hurricanes — three escalating into major hurricanes with winds around 111 mph or more.
"Our analysis of current and projected global atmospheric and oceanic predictors through November" show that next season "will be an active one," Gray said in a release. "We expect tropical cyclone activity in 2004 to be about 125 percent of the season average."
The long-term annual average is 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes. This year, 15 named storms developed, counting Odette. Seven became hurricanes, and three reached intense status.
As residents know, it takes only one natural disaster to hit the territory for havoc to ensue. While the Virgin Islands was spared hurricane damage in the 2003 season, it sustained an estimated $25.5 million in damage as a result of the torrential rains and flooding of Nov. 10-15.
In his first prediction for the 2003 season, made in December 2002, Gray predicted a dozen named storms, with eight to become hurricanes and three to become intense hurricanes. By the time he revised his prediction for the third time, in August, which is when the June 1 to Nov. 30 season begins to ramp up, he was projecting 14 named storms, with eight becoming hurricanes and three developing into intense storms.
Gray stressed on Thursday, as he has for several years, that the United States in an era of increased hurricane activity.
"We expect this active tropical cyclone era to span the next two or three decades," a member of his forecasting team, Philip Klotzbach, said.
Gray does not predict landfall probability for Caribbean islands, but he said there was a 68 percent chance of a major hurricane hitting somewhere along the U.S. coast in 2004. The long-term probability stands at 52 percent.

Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name, and the city and state/country or island where you reside.

Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.

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.