Flights and Cruises Impacted as Hurricane Danny Approaches the Caribbean
Photo via Twitter/NOAASatellites
UPDATE: 6:22 pm ET 8/23/15
CNN reported that Danny has been downgraded to a tropical storm. It has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and is moving west at 15 mph. As of midday Sunday, it was 275 miles east of the Lesser Antilles island of Guadeloupe, with heavy winds extending at least 60 miles from the center.
According to CNN, the storm will pass through the Leeward Islands as Sunday turns to Monday, dumping 2-4 inches of rain. Weather models show the storm weakening over the next few days to a depression or wave, but CNN said forecasters warn that conditions can change quickly.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla.
A tropical storm watch it in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, and Culebra.
Tropical storm watches have been discontinued in Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.
Hurricane Danny may be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reaches the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, but that doesn’t mean the region isn’t battening down the hatches, the Associated Press reported.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Category 1 storm was 635 miles east of the Leewards, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and moving west-northwest at 12 mph.
According to the AP, The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami expects Danny to make a westerly turn later Saturday and continue to weaken, potentially being downgraded to a tropical storm before it reaches land.
The AP said forecasters expect the storm to pass over Antigua and Barbuda early Monday, and then arrive at the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico early Tuesday.
Danny’s promise of precipitation is a mixed blessing for Puerto Rico, as the island has been incredibly parched since May. Citing statistics from The National Drought Mitigation Center, the AP said nearly 25 percent of the commonwealth is in an “extreme” drought, and 45 percent is experiencing “severe” drought. A total of 2.9 million people are affected.
"This storm has created a lot of expectations," Carlos Anselmi of the National Weather Service in San Juan told the AP. "But we cannot talk about how much rainfall is expected because the storm is quite small. There's a lot of uncertainty still."
The AP did say that forecasters expect the heaviest rain to fall in open waters north of the territory.
This was bad news for water-rationing Puerto Rico residents like 88-year-old Gloria Rodriguez. "We're asking God to bring us water and not destruction," she said to the AP. "This is what we're all hoping for."
But the U.S. Virgin Islands will be right in the crosshairs of the deluge.
Anselmi told the AP that the U.S. Virgin Islands would see more rain than Puerto Rico, especially the islands of St. Thomas and St. John.
U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp acknowledged the distribution of sandbags and the opening of shelters at a Saturday press conference.
"We do expect tremendous amount of rain," he said to the assembled journalists. "We want folks in the community to take this event seriously."
Beyond the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the AP stated that a tropical storm watch is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius, Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.
Danny’s approach is impacting regional flights. According to the AP, LIAT, which calls Antigua home, canceled almost 40 flights from Sunday to Tuesday. Caribbean mainstay Seaborne Airlines also alerted fliers to the potential of delays and cancellations, tweeting a link to their homepage that has a detailed list of canceled flights.
The AP is also reporting that several cruise ships slated to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands have canceled or delayed the trips due to the hurricane.
Travelers should keep a close eye on the forecast, and also keep in touch with their airlines and cruise lines for updates as the storm moves through.
More by Michael Isenbek
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