The Caribbean Relaxes Hurricane Watch

In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, residents chain-sawed downed trees and swept up leaves strewn after Hurricane Earl, with tropical storm Fiona creeping up just behind it. Earl battered the northeastern Caribbean and Puerto Rico, downing power lines, blowing off some house roofs, toppling trees, and causing flooding.

Caribbean leaders expressed their relief at being spared. Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer stated, “We are thankful to God for sparing fair Antigua and Barbuda from greater damage,” while Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño said, “We have been quite fortunate. We did not take a direct hit … it was not as serious as it could have been.” In some Caribbean countries, however, thousands remained without power.

Earl grew in strength to winds close to 135 miles per hour (215 kph), moving away from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Tuesday to cross the open Atlantic east of the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas. Meanwhile, Fiona was moving on a course that was expected to take it northeast of the Leeward Islands today (September 1, 2010). Yesterday, meteorologist Walter Snell at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, predicted that Fiona would not be much of a problem, although it brings rain and heavier gusts. According to National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 5:00pm EDT this evening, all watches and warnings were dropped,

The tropical storm with 60 mph winds was about 140 miles north of Anguilla and 185 miles northeast of St. Thomas. U.S. forecasters said the government of Antigua and Barbuda had discontinued the tropical storm watch for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla. The Netherlands Antilles had discontinued the tropical storm watch for St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius. Also, France said it would discontinue the tropical storm warning for St. Martin and St. Barthelemy at 6:00pm.

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