July 20, 2004 Forecasters are keeping an eye on a tropical wave expected to bring heavy rains to the territory between midnight and 4 a.m. on Wednesday. Showers could start Tuesday afternoon.
"We may see some development, but not till it passes you," said Robert Mitchell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan.
He said conditions near the Virgin Islands are not favorable for the wave to develop into a tropical depression, but once it moves west of the islands, it could intensify. The wave is on a west-northwest track.
He said that the tropical wave will pass south of St. Croix, bring one to two inches of rain and winds gusting between 30 and 40 mph. Mitchell also expects thunderstorms.
The 2004 Hurricane Season has, so far, seen no storms develop in the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. However, in other years, the season has been well under way by this time of year.
In 1996, the category 1 Bertha made a direct hit on the territory on July 8. St. Thomas and St. John were heaviest hit when the 85 mph winds blew through. The power went out, in some cases for more than a week, and the storm ripped away the blue Federal Emergency Management Agency tarps that provided shelter in homes brutally damaged when Hurricane Marilyn clobbered the islands the year before.
Hurricane season officially runs June 1 through Nov. 30.
On Monday, the territory observed Hurricane Supplication Day, a day when residents pray that they will be spared a hurricane during the season. Oct. 18 is Hurricane Thanksgiving Day, a day set aside to give thanks if the territory was spared. In years when a hurricane hit, residents greeted friends with "thank God for life."
In 2003, the first tropical storm of the season, Ana, formed unusually early on April 21. Tropical Depression 2 formed on June 11, with waves, tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes forming regularly until Tropical Storm Odette and Tropical Storm Peter developed past the official end of hurricane season. Odette formed on Dec. 4, 2003 and Peter on Dec. 9, 2003.
None of the 2003 storms hit the territory.
The Virgin Islands hasn't seen a tropical storm or hurricane since Hurricane Lenny hit in 1999.
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