Daytime high temperatures will average in the upper 80s to low 90s today as another hot day is in store for the Virgin Islands. Shower activity will be limited and winds remain southerly at 5-10 miles per hour.
Mariners can anticipate five-foot seas and winds to 10 knots. There is a moderate risk of rip currents along the territorial coastlines.
IN THE TROPICS
Sam is now a hurricane with rapid intensification expected to continue. At 5 a.m., the center of Hurricane Sam was located near 11.5 degrees North, 42.2 degrees West or about 1,470 miles east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands. Top winds have increased to 75 miles per hour and the hurricane is maintaining a westerly track at 15 miles per hour. There are no watches or warnings in effect.
KEY POINTS AND ANALYSIS – Sam continues to rapidly intensify. Satellite photos Friday morning show a well-developed inner core and pronounced curved bands that wrap most of the way around the center. Hurricane Sam has a small wind field with hurricane-force winds extending outward 15 miles and tropical storm-force winds extending 60 miles from the center.
Sam is forecast to maintain a westward track for the next two days before undergoing a decrease in forward speed and assuming a motion to the west-northwest. By the middle of next week, a high-pressure ridge should slide to the east and in response, the hurricane will turn to the northwest as it approaches the northern Leeward Islands.
Environmental conditions appear favorable for continued rapid intensification through Sunday as the hurricane remains in low wind shear conditions and over warm waters. Intensity forecast models call for Sam to be a major hurricane by early Saturday. Beyond Sunday, the environment becomes a little less ideal and Sam’s intensification should begin to level off. Sam is expected to be a significant hurricane during the next several days.
Based on the current forecast, Hurricane Sam is expected to make its closest point of approach to the territory on Wednesday morning when the center of the storm passes approximately 550 miles east of St. Croix as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour while maintaining a track to the northwest at nine miles per hour.
Elsewhere in the tropics, a tropical wave is expected to move off the west coast of Africa by the end of the weekend. Thereafter, environmental conditions are forecast to be conducive for gradual development, and a tropical depression could form by the middle of next week while the system moves westward at 10-15 miles per hour over the far eastern tropical Atlantic. There is a medium chance — 40 percent — of tropical weather system formation through five days.
Sunrise: 6:09 a.m.
Sunset: 6:14 p.m.
OBSERVATIONS AT THE 3D MANDAHL WEATHER STATION
Thursday’s high temperature: 89 degrees at 12:35 p.m.
Thursday’s low temperature: 79 degrees at 3:24 a.m.
Peak wind gust: 14 miles per hour at 2:55 p.m.
24-hour rainfall: 0.00 inches
Month rain: 4.03 inches
Year rain: 30.23 inches