Jeanne Heads for Bahamas; Karl on the Horizon as South Regroups

September 17, 2004

After briefly gaining hurricane strength, Tropical Storm Jeanne’s wind speed slowed as it drifted West-Northwestward along the north coast of Hispaniola. Even the comparatively slow winds – around 65 mph (104 km/hr) – have been deadly, however. Two persons were reported to have died from storm-related causes in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the island of Hispaniola from Le Mole St. Nicholas Haiti eastward to Santo Domingo. However, as Jeanne moves over open water, it’s expected to strengthen, and a hurricane warning remains in effect for the Southeastern Bahamas, including the Acklins, Crooked Island, The Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands, as well as for the Turks and Caicos Islands. A hurricane watch remains in effect for the Central Bahamas, including Cat Island, The Exumas, Long Island., Rum Cay and San Salvador.

As of this morning the National Hurricane Center said the “poorly defined center of tropical storm Jeanne was estimated near latitude 19.8 north-longitude 70.9 west. This position is on the north coast of the Dominican Republic near Puerta Plat about 115 miles (190 km) South of Grand Turk. Jeanne has been moving west-northwestward 8 mph (13 km/h) and a mostly northwestward motion is expected for the next 24 hours.” On that course Jeanne could threaten Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas by early next week.

The NHC said “some additional weakening is expected while the cyclone interacts with Hispaniola, but Jeanne could regain hurricane status during the next day or two. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 70 miles. (110 km) from the center. Estimated minimum central pressure is 992 Mb (29.29 inches). Storm surge flooding of 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves, can be expected along the north coast of the Dominican Republic today.” The island is also threatened by flash floods and mudslides from the heavy rainfall – 9 to 13 inches are expected. The NHC also warned of the possibility of tornadoes in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile, another storm, dubbed Karl, has formed in the Atlantic. It is currently located near latitude 11.5 north-longitude 35.3 west or about 820 miles (1320 kms) west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

“Karl is moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/)., said the NHC’s bulletin. “A motion to the west or west-northwest is expected with a gradual decrease in forward speed during the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (104 km/hr) with higher gusts.” However, the NHC said Karl “has been getting stronger during the evening and may become a hurricane later today or early tomorrow. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center.”

Not to be soon forgotten, the storm that was Hurricane Ivan extended its deadly trek across the South on Friday, destroying homes, swamping streets and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power from the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas. Billions of dollars in property damages will result from Ivan’s short stay.

Ivan will be recorded as the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States since Floyd in 1999, but it could have been worse. In all, the hurricane was blamed for 70 deaths in the Caribbean and at least 33 in the United States, killing 14 in Florida.

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