HURRICANE GEORGES HITS ST. CROIX

BY

JAMES A. PETRAIT


At 8 AM AST on September 21, 1998, Hurricane Georges started to be felt on St. Croix, VI. At a location near the Frederiksted part of the island at 17 deg. 43 min. N. Latitude and 64 deg. 53 min. West Longitude the 8 AM barometer reading was 29.71 inches and falling. The outdoor temperature was 83 deg. F and winds were gusting probably around 30 to 40 miles per hour. There was no rain at that time.


Then the barometer started dropping and the winds increased. At noon time it was down to 29.09 inches with a temperature of 82 deg. F. From 1:05 PM to 1:30 PM, it reached a low point of 28.73 inches and then gradually reached 28.76 inches at 2:00 PM, 29.01 inches at 3:00 PM, 29.38 inches at 4 PM until it went to 29.74 inches at 9:00 PM. During all of this time the temperature stayed constant at 82 deg.F. Up to 1:30 PM the winds were probably around 100 mph with higher gusts but there wasn't much rain. Then afterwards the tremendous rains came and lasted for around 3 to 4 hours with winds probably in the same range as before. The great forces caused some trees to be uprooted, some roofs to leave the houses, and debris flying through the air like a snowstorm.


The eye of the hurricane was near this location but there was no defined calm area at the lowest barometric reading. It rained, sometimes heavily, during Monday night so that a damage assessment could not take place until daylight.


On Tuesday morning, the power was out all over the island and the phones at my location were down. Some phones were still in operation but the long distance service from St. Thomas to the States was out which made it difficult for anyone to make a call off the islands. At my location, no one was injured and there was no major damage. Water wet some of the floors and downed trees, branches, and parts of roofs littered the outside. It was reported that no one lost their life during the hurricane on St. Croix but 4 new babies were born during that time. Because we were well prepared, and because the winds were not has high as predicted, we were able to overcome any severe damage from this storm.


I originally uploaded this description to the website around 4 PM AST on Wednesday, September 23rd after I was able to find a local phone connection and the long distance services from the islands had been restored. Much of the island of St. Croix is returning to normal and I expect my personal phone and power to be restored later today. The school where I teach, St. Joseph High School, will resume operation on Monday, September 28th.


I intend to provide more detailed information regarding the barometric pressure changes during the hurricane on my website in several days. Teachers and students should feel free to make use of the data to make graphs and as part of a study of an abiotic factor.


Below is the data which can be used as part of your lesson plan. I would suggest that you have the students make a graph from the data and then have them interpret the graph. I will post the graph from the first school to send me an accurate and complete line graph of all of the data points in the table. This should be in the form of a .jpg or .gif file of 300 kilobytes or less. Send an interpretation file with it in the email to which the file is attached.


     BAROMETRIC PRESSURE CHANGES DURING HURRICANE GEORGES ON ST.CROIX
TIME IS AST           BAROMETRIC PRESSURE (BP) IS IN INCHES             DATE IS 9/21/98

LOCATION:  ST. JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL, FREDERIKSTED, VI 00840
                     17 DEG. 43 MIN. NORTH LATITUDE, 64 DEG. 53 MIN. WEST LONGITUDE
OBSERVER:  JAMES A. PETRAIT
 

             TIME      BP            TIME      BP            TIME      BP            TIME      BP
             0800     29.71           1305     28.73           1445     28.94           1625      29.38
             0900     29.65           1310     28.73           1450     28.96           1630      29.38
             1000     29.56           1315     28.73           1455     28.98           1635      29.41
             1100     29.47           1320     28.73           1500     29.01           1640      29.41
             1115     29.35           1325     28.73           1505     29.05           1645      29.42
             1130     29.25           1330     28.73           1510     29.07           1650      29.44
             1145     29.18           1335     28.74           1515     29.10           1655      29.44
             1200     29.09           1340     28.74           1520     29.12           1700      29.44
             1205     29.05           1345     28.76           1525     29.15           1800      29.56
             1210     29.02           1350     28.76           1530     29.20           1900      29.59
             1215     29.00           1355     28.77           1535     29.20           2000      29.68
             1220     28.97           1400     28.77           1540     29.21           2100      29.74
             1225     28.93           1405     28.79           1545     29.21           2200      29.77
             1230     28.90           1410     28.79           1550     29.26           2300      29.77
             1235     28.89           1415     28.81           1555     29.28
             1240     28.85           1420     28.83           1600     29.30
             1245     28.83           1425     28.84           1605     29.30
             1250     28.78           1430     28.86           1610     29.32
             1255     28.78           1435     28.88           1615     29.32
             1300     28.74           1440     28.92           1620     29.35

ADDITIONAL REFERENCE POINTS:
ON 9/20/98 AT 1800 THE BP WAS 29.91
ON 9/22/98 AT 0900 THE BP WAS 29.80
ON 9/27/98 AT 0900 THE BP WAS 29.88
NORMALLY THE BP STAYS AROUND 30.00

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Permission is granted to make multiple copies of this page for non-profit educational use. Be sure to give the author credit.

© 1998, James A. Petrait


Send e-mail to James A. Petrait: jpetrait@earthling.net