What a difference a couple of days can make…in the Caribbean

This is the time of year that the Atlantic Ocean becomes a bit of a ‘bowling alley’ of storms. Storms usually form as they come off of the western coast of Africa and head west.  That is where the uncertainty comes in.  Sometimes the map can look very ominous.  For instance, this is what we were looking at coming toward the Virgin Islands (read for that: St John) this past Friday:
One system just to the north of the Virgin Islands and two systems to the East
As you can see from the caption on the picture above, the red indicates a pretty strong probability of a ‘system’ becoming a tropical storm (e.g. greater than 50%) and that was followed by an orange system just off the coast of Africa.  Neither color is a ‘nice’ color during hurricane season so we started talking about buttoning up our villa, just in case.  
During the night we got lots of ‘liquid gold’ (e.g. rain that fills our cisterns) and as we awake this morning the red has turned to yellow (this is a good thing!) passing way to our south, and we have sun! The orange that had been heading toward us is now just a yellow (another good thing) and seems to be heading north-northwest and this is the way the map looks right now:

This is only to say that weather changes in a heartbeat so don’t worry too much when the storms are far away from the Caribbean.  Anything can happen – for the good or bad. While we have been fortunate – so far – this hurricane season with storms petering out before they get to us, we are still very early in the season. More storms will come off the coast of Africa.  Some will turn from yellow to orange and probably on to red.  While we are just a teeny island in a vast ocean, the systems that are serious tend to be huge and can be felt for hundreds of miles so the storm can be far away and can still have an impact on us.  The best advise is an age old one ‘keep your eye to the sky’ which in 2012 lingo translates to watching the following tropical weather links: 

National Hurricane Center  – updates current conditions & forecasts several times a day.

Caribbean Hurricane Network  – including very locally based reporting & forecasting. Excellent site.

Storm Pulse – interesting depictions of the storms

St John webcam  – Our St John villa’s webcam which looks to the East overlooking Rendezvous Bay (most storms race east to west so it is great to watch the weather ‘come in’)

If you have travel plans including the Caribbean I would not recommend changing them (or not making them in the first place!) because of the hurricane season.  It is more likely than not that your time on island will be storm free. However, just in case the bowling lane gets nasty and a big storm does head our way, it is always smart to protect yourself with travel insurance.  It is a small cost to pay for some reassurance.  

So, for today, we plan to head to the beach! 

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