At 11 pm Saturday, Tropical Storm Irene was located about 368 miles east-southeast of St. Croix near 15.3 degrees north, 59.9 degrees west on a forecast track that will keep the center of the storm about 80 miles to the south of St. Croix late Sunday afternoon. While the storm center will remain south of the territory, St. Croix is expected to be affected by sustained tropical storm force winds — winds in excess of 39 miles per hour — for an eight hour period from 2 pm - 10 pm with the peak of the winds affecting the island around 6 pm.
Tropical storm force winds extend 120 miles outward to the north and east of the storm center. The top winds are estimated at 50 miles per hour and the storm is moving to the west at 22 miles per hour.
Tropical Storm Irene is also expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 - 7 inches in the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast in the warning area. Near the coastlines, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.
The Office of the Governor, VITEMA and the National Weather Service are urging citizens to begin preparedness steps to protect life and property and to stay tune to local radio and TV, NOAA weather radio and VI Alert for updated information from the National Weather Service.
Mariners also are urged to make all necessary preparations to return to port and to seek safe harbor and secure their craft. Now is the time to initiate preparations according to your emergency plan for tropical systems and to monitor weather broadcasts for changes to the latest forecast and listen for further weather statements.