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Author Topic: HURRICANE SEASON 2008  (Read 13853 times)
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« Reply #270 on: October 15, 2008, 11:03:39 pm »

                                     Omar grows into Category 3 hurricane in Caribbean

Associated Press Writer
AUG. 16, 2008
CHRISTIANSTED, U.S. Virgin Islands - Omar strengthened into a fierce Category 3 hurricane late Wednesday as it pummeled St. Croix with heavy rains and winds, sinking boats in the harbor, knocking down trees and forcing workers to shut down a major oil refinery.
The fast-growing hurricane was roaring toward the U.S. and British Virgin Islands with top winds of 115 mph. Omar's center appeared set to edge passed the tiny tourist islands, but forecasters warned they could still get hit.

"It could thread the needle, but any kind of track deviation and any of those islands will be clobbered," said Jack Beven of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

At the Caravelle Hotel in St. Croix, maintenance worker Mike Parish was working by the light from generators in a vain effort to keep rain water from blowing in beneath the door. Authorities cut electricity across the island as a precaution.

"We're are doing all we can. The water is too much for us," Parish said.

The storm sank at least two 30-foot boats in Christiansted harbor as it approached from the southwest.

On the nearby Puerto Rican island of Vieques, the storm flooded roads and downed tree branches. One death was reported on Puerto Rico's tiny island of Culebra. Authorities say a 55-year-old man collapsed from cardiac arrest while trying to install storm shutters on his house.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. John deJongh closed all public schools, told government employees to head home at midmorning and imposed a 6 p.m. curfew for all islands. He also activated the National Guard.

"Take this very seriously," he said. "Folks are out right now doing their last minute shopping, and that's understandable. Once that's done, we encourage them to go home."

Police rescued several stranded motorists from flooded roads Wednesday afternoon. Police Commissioner James H. McCall warned that anyone found on the roads after curfew would be taken into custody.

Jerry Comparitivo, a teacher who lives in St. Croix, said he could see dark clouds gathering as the sun set.

"I am tying up the loose ends right now, and getting ready with my family to hunker down for what could be a very eventful night," he said.

In the British Virgin Islands, residents flocked to supermarkets for supplies.

"Hospitals are in emergency mode," said government spokeswoman Sandra Ward.

In St. Croix, the Hovensa LLC oil refinery, among the 10 largest in the world, was shutting down until after the storm passes, said spokesman Alex Moorehead. St. Croix is the most-populous of the U.S. Virgin Islands with more than 50,000 people.

Most residents spent the day securing their homes and making sure they had enough food, water and batteries.

"I plan to stay up all night and ride out the storm, but I have a feeling it's going to be very bad," said Helino Cruz, a Hovensa retiree.

At the King Christian Hotel, on the Christiansted waterfront, some guests were moved to interior rooms as the wind threatened to shatter the glass doors on their balconies, said Arlene Frederick, a front desk clerk.

Hurricane warnings were also in place for Anguilla, St. Maarten, and St. Barts. A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua, Barbuda and Montserrat.

Hurricane Omar forced at least three cruise ships to divert course. Flights were canceled on several islands.

The hurricane center said Omar was expected to plow over the northeastern Caribbean islands then head into the central North Atlantic, well away from the U.S. mainland.

At 11 p.m. Wednesday, Omar's center was located 30 miles southeast of St. Croix and 105 miles west-southwest of St. Martin. It was moving northeast near 20 mph.

Meanwhile, another tropical depression was hugging the coast of Honduras, and a tropical storm warning was in effect for the area.


Associated Press writers Andrew O. Selsky in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Judi Shimel in Charlotte Amalie,

U.S. Virgin Islands; and Marvin Hokstam in Philipsburg, St. Maarten contributed to this report.
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« Reply #271 on: October 16, 2008, 11:14:11 pm »

                                 Weakening Omar moves through northern Caribbean

By STEVE BULLOCK, Associated Press

CHRISTIANSTED, U.S. Virgin Islands Omar weakened into a tropical storm late Thursday as it moved out to sea after delivering a glancing blow to the U.S. Virgin Islands and lashing the most-populated island of St. Croix with rain.

Omar passed between St. Martin and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands early Thursday morning as a powerful hurricane, said Lixion Avila, a hurricane specialist with the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

"It could have been worse," Avila said. "They were very, very lucky."

Omar, which reached Category 3 status, knocked down trees, caused some flooding and minor mudslides in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but there were no immediate reports of deaths or major damage, said Mark Walters, director of the disaster management agency for the Caribbean territory.

A last-minute shift to the east spared St. Croix, the most populated of the islands.

Gov. John P. deJongh announced that a 6 p.m. curfew on Thursday for St. Croix that would be lifted Friday at 6 a.m. because electricity was still being restored. He said the power company was having problems repairing downed lines and poles because major roadways were still being cleared.

Public schools across St. Croix would remain closed on Friday.

The nearby British Virgin Islands emerged largely unscathed, said Deputy Gov. Inez Archibald, noting there was little damage beyond some mudslides and scattered debris.

"We did reasonably well actually," Inez told The Associated Press.

The island's international airport reopened Thursday afternoon, but the Virgin Gorda airport remained closed because of flooding.

At least 30 people were evacuated in Antigua, where emergency officials in boats rescued people stranded on their roofs as floodwaters rose and lifted some homes from their foundations.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer promised an investigation into why some areas flooded so quickly when safety measures should have prevented that from happening.

He also warned residents that local produce could become scarce and food prices could rise.

"Our farming community appears to have suffered extensive loss of crops," he said.

Omar weakened as it headed over the ocean and away from the Caribbean and U.S. mainland.

By late Thursday evening, it was a tropical storm centered about 715 miles southeast of Bermuda and was moving northeast at 25 mph. It had maximum winds of 70 mph.

On Thursday, cleanup crews fanned out across several flooded Caribbean islands, where power and water were slowly being restored.

Ports in Puerto Rico reopened, but remained closed in St. Croix.

In St. Maarten, roads were flooded and littered with tree branches and other debris, but authorities lifted a curfew Thursday afternoon and planned to reopen the main airport on Friday.

Two hotels Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and Royal Islander Club might close temporarily after heavy water and wind damage, said Robert Dubourcq, executive product manager for St. Maarten's Hospitality and Trade Association.

A disco and restaurant at the Caravanserai Resort were destroyed, and construction of 260 new rooms might be temporarily halted, he said.

One death was reported on Puerto Rico's tiny island of Culebra.

The island's Hovensa oil refinery, one of the 10 largest in the world, shut down operations for the storm.
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« Reply #272 on: October 17, 2008, 06:35:24 pm »

                                        Omar a hurricane once again in Atlantic

October 15, 2008

MIAMI (Reuters) Omar regained hurricane strength in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday but did not pose an immediate threat to land after causing little damage this week as it blasted through the northern Caribbean.

The 15th storm of a busy Atlantic hurricane season, Omar had weakened to a tropical storm after a close encounter with the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, the Dutch/French island of St. Martin and other small Caribbean nations and territories.

But the U.S. National Hurricane Center said its sustained winds had strengthened again to 75 miles per hour (120 km per hour), making it a minimal Category 1 storm on the five-step hurricane intensity scale.

Omar was about 660 miles east of Bermuda and its forecast track had it heading in the general direction of Portugal's Azores Islands. Forecasters say long-range predictions have large margins of error.

The storm was expected to weaken again, becoming a tropical storm with winds below 74 mph, within a day.

Omar roared through the northern Caribbean as a powerful Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph late Wednesday and early Thursday but made a direct hit only on a tiny, uninhabited island in the middle of the Anegada Passage.

It sank boats in harbors and knocked down trees and utility poles on a number of islands, but caused little serious damage, according to officials in the region.

Omar briefly disrupted oil operations in Venezuela after forming on Tuesday north of the Dutch island of Curacao, and forced the shutdown of processing units at the Hovensa refinery in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Officials at the 500,000-barrel-per-day refinery, which is jointly owned by Hess and state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, restarted the facility after finding no significant damage.

(Reporting by Jim Loney)
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« Reply #273 on: November 07, 2008, 07:40:31 am »

                                           Hurricane watch issued for parts of Cuba

Friday Nov. 7, 2008

A hurricane watch has been issued for parts of Cuba as Paloma continues barreling toward the
Cayman Islands.

Watches have been issued for the provinces of Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las
Tunas and Granma.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Cayman Islands, and the Category 1 storm is expected
to pass near there late Friday or early Saturday.

At 7 a.m. EST, Paloma was about 85 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman. The storm is expected
to keep gaining momentum as it moves across the Caribbean. It could become a Category 2 hurricane later Friday and may reach Category 3 intensity by Saturday.

The storm's winds are reaching 80 mph. Paloma is moving to the north at 8 mph and is expected to
turn to the northeast late Friday.
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« Reply #274 on: November 08, 2008, 06:48:16 am »

                                Paloma becomes Category 4 storm, heads toward Cuba

Saturday Nov. 8, 2008
Cayman Islands

Paloma became an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane early Saturday, dumping wind and rain on the Cayman Islands and threatening to strike hurricane-ravaged Cuba as a major storm, forecasters said.

The late-season storm had top sustained winds of near 140 mph (225 kph) and was expected to bring total rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches over the Cayman Islands as well as central and eastern Cuba.

The new forecast from the National Hurricane Center in Miami called for Paloma to make landfall in Cuba as a major hurricane late Saturday or early Sunday with maximum-sustained winds of at least 111 mph (178 kph).

Cuba already is suffering from Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, which struck the island earlier this season and together caused an estimated $9.4 billion in damage.

"It's not like it's new to them, unfortunately," said Dave Roberts, a U.S. Navy hurricane specialist.

Cuban official newspaper Granma, recalling past late-season hurricanes such as a 1932 storm that killed about 3,000 people, said Paloma poses "a potential danger for the island."

At 7 a.m. EST, the center of Paloma was just southeast of Cayman Brac and moving toward the northeast near 8 mph (11 kph). The storm's center was expected to move away from Little Cayman and Cayman Brac on Saturday morning and was about 165 miles (265 kilometers) southwest of Camaguey, Cuba.

The Cayman Islands government asked all hotels to remove guests from the ground and first floors. Nearly 40 people were already staying in the islands' seven shelters.

Water service across Grand Cayman was turned off, and power would likely will be cut as the storm neared, hazard management director Barbara Carby said.

"We have asked everybody to come off the streets and to be home and safe right now," she said.

Earlier, stranded tourists watched dark clouds gather and saw the storm whip up 10-foot (3-meter) waves from their hotels or beachfront restaurants.

"It was a real surprise," said Rick Douglas, 50, of Toronto, who checked weather Web sites before flying to the Caribbean. "It just said there was a tropical depression starting, but I didn't think it would turn into anything serious."

His wife, Susan Douglas, was confident they would be safe as long as they follow orders.

"Grand Cayman has been there and done that, so they are prepared," she said.

Havana's communist government activated the early stages of its highly organized civil defense system. In central and eastern Cuba, people were advised to stay tuned to state media for news of Paloma's progress and be ready to evacuate.

Paloma was aiming toward the central-eastern city of Camaguey, which was particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Ike in September.

Ike and Hurricane Gustav, which struck the island in late August, together caused an estimated $9.4 billion in damage. Nearly a third of Cuba's crops were destroyed, causing widespread shortages of fresh produce and prompting authorities to order the planting of vegetable greens and other short-term vegetables.

Forecasters expect Paloma to weaken into a tropical storm after striking Cuba and then steer south of Florida through the Bahamas and into the Atlantic.

Cayman Islands Gov. Stuart Jack said Friday that a British Royal Navy ship was on the way and would be available to provide humanitarian assistance if needed.

The airport closed Friday morning after extra flights were added to fly out some people late Thursday.

Muniran Charran, a construction worker from Guyana, said he first heard about the storm Thursday night over the radio.

"We didn't really have any time to prepare because the banks and the stores all closed so early today," he said.

He was drinking beers with friends in the downstairs lobby of their beachfront apartment complex.

"What we've been seeing all day is just a lot of rain and strong winds," Guyana native Shik Khan said. "We hope that when we wake up, everything is fine."
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« Reply #275 on: November 08, 2008, 10:36:44 am »

                                       Hurricane Paloma strengthens, heads for Cuba

By Shurna Robbins
Nov, 8, 2008

Hurricane Paloma strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm on Saturday as it pounded the wealthy British Caribbean territory of the Cayman Islands and headed toward storm-battered Cuba.

Paloma's eye passed just to the east of Grand Cayman, the main island and home to most of the
more than 50,000 people in the important offshore financial center, but damage appeared to be
light and there were no immediate reports of deaths.

"There is no damage to central George Town, where the bulk of the financial sector is located,"
said Cindy Scotland, an official with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. "So there is no
reason to think there has been any damage in any way to the infrastructure of the financial
services sector."

"The Authority does not expect any reports of significant, if any, interruptions in business," she

Cuba, already hammered this year by hurricanes Gustav and Ike, declared an emergency in central
and eastern parts of the island, canceled all national air and ground transportation and began evacuating hundreds of thousands of residents.

Authorities issued an "all-clear" early Saturday for Grand Cayman but cautioned residents to move
about carefully. Power was out in some parts of the island and the streets of George Town were
littered with tree branches.

Paloma's sustained winds increased to 140 miles per hour (225 km per hour) early on Saturday as
the storm hurtled across the group's smaller islands, Cayman Brac, home to 1,800 people, and Little Cayman, with a population of about 100.

Gov. Stuart Jack asked that the British auxiliary ship Wave Ruler head straight to the smaller islands after the storm passes.

"Paloma is now an extremely dangerous category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale," the
U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Category 4 hurricanes can generate tidal surges up to 18 feet above normal and their winds can
tear off the roofs and blow out the doors and windows of small homes.

Hurricane Ivan had 160 mph winds when it slammed the Caymans in 2004, causing extensive
damage. But the islands and their solid structures are considered less vulnerable than other
Caribbean islands to the fierce tropical storms that churn through between June and the end
of November each year.

Paloma doused Honduras with heavy rains as it formed on Thursday, adding to misery in the impoverished Central American country where the United Nations estimates 70,000 people
have been made homeless by recent storms.

It posed no threat to U.S. oil installations in the Gulf of Mexico.

In Cuba, Paloma was forecast to beat a northeast path through central Camaguey and eastern
Las Tunas provinces. It was expected to weaken before hitting Cuba as a Category 3 storm,
the forecasters said.

"I don't want to talk or hear about hurricanes, because they have already driven me crazy.
First one came through from the north, now one is heading here from the south," Camaguey
resident Carlos Martinez said. "I hope another doesn't fall from the sky."

Ailing former President Fidel Castro put damage from previous storms Ike and Gustav at $8
billion and blamed global warming for the number and power of the storms this year.

In a written statement published on Saturday, Castro rejected any aid from the United States
before it was even offered, demanding instead that Washington lift economic sanctions tightened
by U.S. President George W. Bush.

"Dignified conduct will again be needed if the head of the empire, who has been the chief instigator behind the genocidal blockade against our country, were to again offer pitiful aid. It will most surely
be rejected," said Castro, who has not appeared in public since intestinal surgery in July 2006.

By 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), Paloma was about 130 miles east-northeast of Grand Cayman Island
and about 140 miles southwest of Camaguey, Cuba, and moving east-northeast near 9 mph, the hurricane center said.

(Additional reporting by Marc Frank in Havana; writing by Jim Loney, editing by Vicki Allen)
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« Reply #276 on: November 08, 2008, 09:10:11 pm »

                                     Hurricane Center: Paloma makes landfall in Cuba

Nov 8, 2008


The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Hurricane Paloma has made landfall in southern Cuba as a Category 4 storm. Senior Hurricane Specialist Stacy Stewart told The Associated Press that the storm reached southern Cuba near Santa Cruz del Sur at about 6 p.m. EST. He says the storm will now spend several hours crossing Cuba on a northeasterly trek before heading into open Atlantic waters on Sunday.

Stewart says the storm is still an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane and one of the strongest November hurricanes in the region since 1999. The hurricane center says maximum sustained winds were near 145 mph earlier in the day. But Stewart says the storm is expected to weaken in intensity now that it is moving over land.
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« Reply #277 on: November 10, 2008, 08:47:34 am »

Wow, yet another hurricane!  This is the latest I have seen one hit in the season ever, Bianca. I hope it's not coming to Florida.

Something is up with the weather, the Dakotas just got nine feet of snow, too.  Global warming is supposed to bring with it more powerful storms, and some of these are really wicked. Hope things go okay for you folks in the Gulf.
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« Reply #278 on: November 26, 2008, 08:00:33 pm »

Yes, Tina, this is the only time in 20 years I have been here that the 'storms' went beyond
the November 1 date.


                                       Atlantic hurricane season blows away records

Seth Borenstein,
Ap Science Writer
Wed Nov 26, 2008

The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Sunday, seemed to strike the United States and Cuba as if on redial, setting at least five weather records for persistence and repeatedly striking the same areas.

"It was pretty relentless in a large number of big strikes," said Georgia Tech atmospheric sciences professor Judith Curry. "We just didn't have the huge monster where a lot of people lost their lives,
but we had a lot of damage, a lot of damage."

Data on death and damage are still being calculated, but the insurance industry recorded at least
$10.6 billion in losses this hurricane season. That includes $8.1 billion in insured damage from Hurricane Ike, which ranked as the seventh most expensive catastrophe in the United States history, according
to Mike Barry of the Insurance Information Institute in New York.

Three records showed the hurricane season's relentlessness.

Six consecutive named storms Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike struck the U.S. mainland, something that had not been seen in recorded history.

It's also the first time a major hurricane, those with winds of at least 111 mph, formed in five consecutive months, July through November.

And Bertha spun about for 17 days, making it the longest lived storm in July.
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