Debby Upgraded to Hurricane : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Storm Debby now a hurricane High winds threaten still-recovering Caribbean islands

Associated Press PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten , Aug. 22  Debby strengthened from a tropical storm into a hurricane early Tuesday as it threatened several northeast Caribbean islands still recovering from last years storm damage.

Hurricane warnings were posted from Guadeloupe north through Dutch St. Maarten; the British and U.S. Virgin Islands; and Puerto Rico.

SCHOOLS CLOSED, people rushed to buy emergency supplies and governments prepared shelters. Tourists crowded airports to flee the storm and airlines began canceling flights. Cruise ships turned away from the winds and rain.

Ten ships and two submarines in the USS Harry Truman battle group abandoned training exercises off Vieques island and moved 300 miles south of Puerto Rico, the Navy said. Vieques is the site of recurrent protest over military exercises.

The fourth named storm of the Atlantic season emerged with unnerving suddenness as the seasons first threat to land, with fears that it could directly hit the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan around noon Tuesday.

At 2 a.m. ET Tuesday, Debby was just southeast of the island of Barbuda in the northern Leeward Islands, heading for French, Dutch and British islands overnight and expected to continue onto the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and then the Dominican Republic. Forecasters said it was too early to say whether the storm could threaten the U.S. mainland.

Debby seemingly came out of nowhere Saturday and reached near-hurricane strength in little more than a day. Its sustained winds reached 75 mph early Tuesday, past the 74 miles per hour to be classified as a hurricane.

Debby was churning west-northwest at about 20 mph, especially fast for such a storm, and was expected to intensify and keep on the same track for the next three days. The weather service said winds were expected to reach about 86 mph.


Hurricane warnings were posted from the French island of Guadeloupe north through the island chain including Dutch St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius, through the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The Dominican Republic went on storm watch Monday night. In volcano-plagued Montserrat, British Gov. Anthony Abbott warned in a radio broadcast that Theres a possibility that Debby could pass right over Montserrat.

Stormy weather likely would cause mudflows of volcanic debris down the Belham River, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory warned, though that area has been in the restricted danger zone. Meteorologists in Antigua warned their residents to prepare for a direct hit.

Electricity on some parts of Antigua went out, apparently turned off to avoid storm damage. Motorists lined up for gas, and emergency specialists warned people living in roofless homes unrepaired since last years hurricanes to get ready to head to shelters.

A flight by a hurricane hunter airplane Monday morning showed Debby was outpacing even the experts forecasts. Its moving faster and its also more intense than we had thought, Laskosky said.

In the twin-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Debby threatened to soak Carifesta, a 35-nation arts and music festival that began

-- (, August 22, 2000

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