Health and Environmental Impacts as the Annual Saharan Dust Returns to the Caribbean

Health and Environmental Impacts as the Annual Saharan Dust Returns to the Caribbean 1

Good morning, good morning!

The annual arrival of ethereal sunsets and a light, hazy fog is coming to the Caribbean a little early this year. Deriving from the Saharan desert in Northern Africa, a massive plume of dust is expected to bring its haze within the next few weeks. Typically not seen until May or June, the Saharan Air Layer, or SAL, will be making its first appearance on the northernmost tip of South America by today. By next week, small clouds of dust and sand will begin to coat the Lesser Antilles.

Health and Environmental Impacts as the Annual Saharan Dust Returns to the Caribbean 2
Taken from a previous NSJ article “Sahara Dust Settles Over St. John”

Read moreHealth and Environmental Impacts as the Annual Saharan Dust Returns to the Caribbean

Curfew lifted, ports remain closed

Curfew lifted, ports remain closed 3

Good morning!  As of 6:00 am, the roads are clear and the curfew has been lifted.   The ports are closed until further notice; we will let you know when they re-open.  The airports remain open.

According to the Governor, the ocean is not safe for swimming today due to remaining swells, but there are many other enjoyable ways to spend your day!  Help support our local economy with some shopping, go for a hike on one of our many trails, or learn about some of the fascinating and important St. Johnian history at Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

Curfew lifted, ports remain closed 4


Storm-related ferry and port closure this morning

Storm-related ferry and port closure this morning 5

Good morning!  A tropical storm warning is in effect for St. John.  We will bring you the latest update regarding the storm shortly after the Governor’s press conference at 10:00 am.  In the meantime, if you are leaving the island today, the last passenger ferries to Red Hook and Crowne Bay will depart at 11:00 am before the ports shut down entirely for the day.  If anything changes we will let you know!

New Hyper Local Website Launches

life on our rock

Hey everyone, happy Monday!

Today we wanted to tell you about a new site that just launched yesterday. It’s called Life on Our Rock and we think it’s going to be very cool.

The site’s the brainchild of Active St. John. Our friends over there were sick and tired of wrong information being spread around the island when an emergency event was occurring. For example, a few years back someone was sitting at the bar and said a huge storm was coming. Word quickly spread and people started to panic. Well it turned out that no storm was really coming and therefore people unnecessarily panicked. The goal of this site is to prevent things like that from happening by reporting accurate, real time information.

Active reached out to us for help, so we’ve been working with them for a bit to make the site work. We think it turned out pretty well. See for yourself here: www.LifeonOurRock.com

As you will see, the site includes a variety of important links such as VI Alerts – so you can view any warnings or emergency information – Tropical Weather – so you can see the most up-to-date information if a storm is in fact coming – and Port Links – so you can be made aware if the ports close or are about to close due to an impending storm.

And because Active is just as obsessed as we are with the fact that the new ferries still aren’t running and that the “fedral” and “emergency” road repairs on Centerline still haven’t been completed, there’s a boatload of information on that too including a plethora of articles from multiples sources on each dating back to 2009.

Again, it just launched yesterday but we have a feeling it’s going to be very cool. Be sure to check it out: www.LifeonOurRock.com

Tropical Storm Watch in Effect

Storm Track July 9 2013

Tropical Storm Chantal is churning up the Caribbean Sea and moving quickly, but it looks like St. John will be spared a direct hit.

As of this morning (6 a.m.), the storm was about 520 southeast of St. Croix with maximum winds of 50 mph. According to the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Chantal is expected to move west-northwest over the next 24-36 hours. Rain and squalls will begin affecting St. John and the surrounding areas this evening and into Wednesday.

The good news if that hurricane conditions are very unlikely to occur with this storm. The bad news is that the storm is expected to strengthen a bit as it moves closer. That means the threat of sustained high winds will increase as the storms nears, although they are expected to stay under tropical storm force. A storm surge is not expected, but tides on the south and east coasts are expected to be one to two feel about normal.

What does this mean for St. John? Well, the system has the potential to bring flooding rains to the area and high wind gusts. That means it’s time to bring your pets inside, secure your boats and put away any of those items outside that you would really miss should they blow away. For the tourists on the island, it means you should probably hunker down at the nearest bar, preferably with a Bushwacker in hand.

In all seriousness my tourists friends and locals alike, it seems as if this is going to be a windy, rain event. For the latest on Tropical Storm Chantel, please check out any of these websites:

If you’d like to see live conditions of what’s happening in St. John, please check out Great Expectation’s webcam, which provides a great view of the south shore. You can find that webcam here.

This image was captured this morning:

Great Expectations webcam July 8 2013



Forecasters see calmer hurricane season


All clear for Easter.

The chance of a hurricane blowing across St. John later this year is markedly less than usual, according to scientists at Colorado State University.

The two men, Philip Klotzbach and William Gray, are nationally known for their hurricane outlooks.

For the 2012 seaso, which begins June 1, they say there is a 34% probability of at least one major storm (category 3,4 or 5) tracking into the Caribbean.  Over the last century, the average probability has been 42%. The scientists say the tropical Atlantic has cooled more than normal, perhaps making a hurricane less likely.

Klotzbach and Gray suggest the 2012 season could produce 10 named storms, two of them to be classified as 'major'.

For the entire coastline of the US, there is a 42% a storm will make landfall; the average for the last century is 52%.

The scientists cautioned against letting your guard down. "Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season," they said.

"Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict this season's hurricane activity in early April," Klotzbach and Gray added. "We issue these forecasts to satisfy the curiosity of the general public."

A pair of storms worth watching

Called "potentially dangerous" by WeatherUnderground's Dr. Jeff Masters, says Tropical Disturbance 92L "is in a dangerous location for development, and gives me the greatest concern of any Atlantic disturbance so far this year."  However the storm is well south of the islands and computer projections show it well south of the Leeward Islands and Cuba. But forecasting models say it'll bring heavy rains to the islands and Puerto Rico this weekend.

Igor Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Igor is moving west and is north of the islands.  "The models are pretty unanimous about developing Igor into a hurricane 3 – 5 days from now. Igor will track west to west-northwest over the next week, Masters said.  Odds favor the storm turning northwest without affecting land.

  • Jeff Masters' tropical storm update is here. (The map p;rojection is also from WeatherUnderground.)

Tropical storm can’t get restarted

Despite concerns yesterday, forecasters are less worried about tropical storm Gaston reforming and being a problem.

"Latest radar out of Martinique and Puerto Rico show a few heavy rain showers moving through the islands, but no organization to (them)," said Jeff Masters, a forecaster with WeatherUnderground.com.

"None of the computer models show Gaston redeveloping, and NHC has downgraded the odds of development to 10 percent."

Earl and Mongoose Junction

Radha Speer, who owns a shop at Mongoose Junction, has posted a bunch of photos of the beautiful shopping center, post-Earl

What you see is what they got. Lots of branches down, a few trees broken, evidence the wind speed was up there … in other words, there's a lot of clean up to do. But Speer's shots show no serious damage.

Glen This a picture of her husband, Glen, the architect and developer of Mongoose, wielding a chainsaw.

  • You can see all of the photos on her Facebook page here.