The mid-day report from the National Hurricane Center says the track of Tropical Storm Dean
has dropped further south and is likely to miss the St. John. However,
there is a 40% chance the Virgin Islands will feel tropical storm winds
(39 miles an hour or more) this weekend. (Hurricane Center updates.)
Doug Benton’s had two big jobs this week, so far. The first was running his business, Crabby’s Watersports in Coral Bay. The second was keeping an eye on the Weather Channel and the Internet to track the tropical storm that had St. John in its sights Tuesday morning.
"It was a reminder for a lot of people that hurricane season is here and it’s time to get ready," Benton said in an interview, which I thought I recorded … but didn’t … and so there’s no podcast this week. 🙁
It’s been 12 years since the Virgin Islands really got whacked by a hurricane. That was Marilyn in 1995.
During the seven years Benton’s been working and living on St. John, he’s prepared for a few big blows. "You get the shutters out, some people have wood ones, and some have aluminum. And you look ’round the yard to find whatever’s loose (that could fly through the air)," he explained. "It’s a lot of work."
"You make sure the generator works which, in my case, it doesn’t. I’ve
had the repair kit in a glass jar on the kitchen table for about three
"Folks were paying attention yesterday, watching closely to see if it
was coming," Benton said, explaining that it’s a lot of work to board
up a house and prepare for a storm that might not come, so people wait
to get ready.
Boaters who anchor in Coral Bay, which is across from Crabby’s
shack, also have to take precautions. If they thought ahead, earlier
this year they applied to the National Park Service for a mooring chain at Hurricane Hole, a protected harbor east of Coral Bay, where they can ride out the storm.
Tourists are something else. "They’ve kind of just been asking where’s
the best snorkeling and the best beach. They’ve been kind of