Tropical Storm Dorian continued to advance towards the Caribbean Monday with increased sustained winds of 60 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center reported, as the U.S. Coast Guard began preparing the ports of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico for the storm.
At 5 a.m. Monday the center of Tropical Storm Dorian was some 684 miles east-southeast of St. Croix. The strengthening of the storm is due in part to lower wind shear and high sea surface temperatures. But the storm’s rate of intensification is limited by the system’s continuing to ingest dry air.
Dorian is moving to the west at 14 miles per hour and being steered by a subtropical ridge to the north. A turn to the west-northwest is expected today, and then a track to the northwest by Wednesday. Dorian is forecast to bring tropical storm conditions including two to four inches of rain to portions of the Leeward Islands Monday.
On its present track, the center of Dorian should pass 112 miles southwest of St. Croix at 9 a.m. Wednesday. At that time, forecasters expect Dorian will still be a tropical storm, with top winds of 70 miles per hour. The winds of Dorian are not expected to impact the Virgin Islands. There are no watches or warnings posted for the Virgin Islands at the present time.
The National Hurricane Center noted that while it is too soon to determine the specific time or magnitude of possible direct impacts on the USVI, Puerto Rico or Hispaniola, “Interests in those areas should monitor the progress of Dorian.” The NHC said watches could be issued later Monday.
Port Condition X-RAY
At 2 a.m. Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard set Port Condition X-RAY for the USVI and Puerto Rico due to the possibility of sustained gale force winds greater than 39 mph that may arrive to the area within 48 hours.
The Coast Guard cautioned the maritime community to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions as Tropical Storm Dorian makes way into Eastern Caribbean waters.
During Port Condition X-RAY port facilities are open to all commercial traffic and all cargo transfer operations at Coast Guard regulated facilities may continue while X-RAY remains in effect. Mariners are reminded there are no safe havens in these facilities, and ports are safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum. All ocean-going commercial vessels greater than 500 gross tons should make plans for departing the port no later than the setting of Port Condition YANKEE.
Vessels desiring to remain in port must immediately contact the COTP to receive permission, the Coast Guard warning noted, and are required to submit a safe mooring plan in writing. Vessels bound for the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico unable to depart 24 hours prior to threatening winds making landfall are advised to seek an alternate destination.
Recreational boaters are advised to seek safe harbor.
In its news release, the Coast Guard said it anticipates setting Port Condition Yankee at 8 a.m. Tuesday for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Watches and Warnings
Islands in the eastern Caribbean are preparing for the approach of Dorian.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for: Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for: Dominica, Martinique, Grenada and its dependencies.
According to the NHC, a tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.