Dorian has been upgraded to a Category One Hurricane as it nears St. Thomas with top winds of 75 miles per hour.
Hurricane Dorian is tracking to the northwest at 13 miles per hour, and a hurricane warning remained posted for the Virgin Islands. There have been numerous reports of hurricane-force winds on St. Thomas over the past couple of hours. A weather station just south of St. Thomas recently reported sustained winds of 82 miles per hour, with a gust to 111 miles per hour.
On its present track, Dorian should continue to move over the U.S. Virgin Islands this afternoon, and then over the open Atlantic waters later tonight. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 20 miles to the north and east of the center, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 80 miles east of the center.
Dorian has the potential to produce four to six inches of rain across the Virgin Islands. Such volumes of rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods. Additionally, swells will increase across the Virgin Islands causing life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
All schools and government offices are closed and the territory is experiencing sporadic power outages due to Tropical Storm Dorian, which was passing south of St. Croix Wednesday morning. Sandbags are being distributed to help ward off floodwaters from torrential rains. Curfew begins at noon so residents should do what they need to do quickly and return home.
The track of the storm has shifted to the north and may bring higher winds than initially projected. Winds on St. Croix may be up to 70 miles per hour at times.
The Department of Public Works will distribute sandbags to the community from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. today which will allow residents an opportunity to safely prepare homes ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian and the territory wide curfew established by Governor Albert Bryan Jr.
The curfew will be from 12 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Distribution locations are:
Department of Public Works, Annas Hope
Department of Public Works, Mars Hill
Grove Place Fire Station
Cotton Valley Fire Station
Department of Public Works, Subbase
Department of Public Works, Susannaberg
Residents are limited to 10 bags per household; this will allow all residents requiring sandbags to be serviced. Pre-filled sandbags are available for elderly and people with disabilities, access and functional needs.
The Department of Human Services, Department of Health and the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) have coordinated plans to open evacuation shelters throughout the territory for residents who cannot shelter in place. The evacuation shelter at Mars Hill Frederiksted has been open to residents since 9 p.m. last evening. All additional evacuation shelters have been open since 9 a.m. today, Wednesday.
Mars Hill Headstart, Frederiksted
University of the Virgin Islands Great hall
Knud Hansen Complex
Julius E. Sprauve School
Power outages are reported on Feeder 1 on St. Croix, impacting a thousand customers in Christiansted.
Power is also out for residents on St. Thomas Feeders 6A, 7C, 8B, 9C and on St. John Feeder 7E a due to problems related to generation capacity at the Harley Power Plant. Plant personnel are working to rebuild capacity and restore service to all affected customers.
WAPA customer offices are closed.
A Hurricane Watch, Tropical Storm Warning, and Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for the Virgin Islands. Dorian’s new projected track has the potential of directly impacting the Virgin Islands.
At 8 a.m. the center of Dorian was estimated to be some 60 miles southeast of St. Croix tracking to the west-northwest at 13 miles per hour. Top winds are at 60 miles per hour and a wind gust of 39 miles per hour was recently recorded on St. Thomas. Dorian is expected to be near hurricane strength when it approaches the Virgin Islands today with winds on the order of 70 miles per hour.
Tropical storm force winds (winds in excess of 39 miles per hour) will be felt across St. Croix beginning at 9 a.m., and by 11 a.m., winds will increase closer to 58 miles per hour. The strongest winds on St. Croix are forecast for midday when wind speeds will average 63 miles per hour.
St. Thomas and St. John will begin to experience winds in excess of 39 miles per hour
around midday with the peak wind gusts of 48 miles per hour occurring on St. John at about 2 p.m., and St. Thomas seeing peak winds of 54 miles per hour around 3 p.m.
Tropical Storm Dorian has the potential to leave four to six inches of rain across portions of the territory. Swells are expected to increase later this morning across the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and they could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.