A worker cleans a building in Road Town on Monday following the weekend passage of Hurricane Tammy. (Photo: RUSHTON SKINNER)

In a close call over the weekend, Hurricane Tammy passed within 100 miles of the Virgin Islands but brought little more than sporadic showers, high surf, and airport and seaport closures.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, the National Emergency Operations Centre had been deactivated, though the Department of Disaster Management added a caveat on Facebook.

“Although the threat from Hurricane Tammy has passed, persons are advised that disturbed weather may continue in the coming days,” the agency warned. “A small craft advisory remains in effect.”

Until the Beacon’s deadline yesterday afternoon, however, a few more brief showers were the only sign of rough weather.

A relief for many

The near miss came as a relief to many residents after preliminary forecasts suggested that the storm could pass much closer to the VI.
On Saturday morning, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley advised everyone to consider the risks and remain cautious.

“Now is the time to put your storm plans into action and ensure that your family and property can be safe,” the premier said at the time. “At the very least, we all need to be vigilant when it comes to Hurricane Tammy’s forecast updates. If the forecast changes, we may need to take additional action.”

As the storm system passed over the eastern Caribbean, Florida meteorologist Brian Shields, known as “Mr. Weatherman” on his YouTube channel, stressed the importance of conducting preparations across the region in case Tammy strayed slightly west from her predicted path.

“[It’s a] fine line with those impacts: We know how that goes,” Mr. Shields said on Saturday. “One island could see a whole lot of nothing; another island could get a lot. Little shifts, a little wobble, could be a big difference in what we get.”


As sporadic wind gusts warned the territory of Tammy’s possible arrival Saturday, the BVI Airports Authority closed the Anegada and Virgin Gorda airports at 2 p.m., and Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport two hours later.

The BVI Ports Authority issued a notice at 5:36 p.m. stating that the territory’s seaports would be closed Sunday. In a 7:05 p.m. update, Mr. Shields reported the Category One hurricane wobbling, which spelled “good news” for some, but saw Antigua and Barbuda facing Tammy’s eyewall.

Direct hit in Barbuda

In the end, Barbuda sustained a direct hit and weathered 4.5 inches of rain with sustained winds up to 92 miles per hour, and seven people were rescued from flooding and taken to shelters, according to the Antigua Observer.

Antigua, which was further from the eye, saw up to two inches of rain in some areas, the newspaper added. Other islands including Guadeloupe also saw heavy rains from the storm.

In the VI, a pocket of rain de-posited one of a few showers on the roof of the Beacon at 11:20 p.m. Saturday.

But the following morning the sun was shining, and the BVIPA posted a Facebook message at 7:12 a.m. signalling the “all clear” for ports to resume regular operation.

About three hours later, Governor John Rankin thanked residents for keeping a watchful eye.

“When we work hard to prepare, then the threat does not materialise, it can be tempting to view our efforts as wasted,” Mr. Rankin said. “In fact, we build our resilience each time we carry out these actions. We gain experience and learn how to make the process more effective.”

The governor also warned residents to stay alert for the possible effects of Tammy’s tail.

“Thunderstorms associated with Tammy could continue off and on throughout the coming week,” Mr. Rankin said. “Rough seas may also continue, and we remain under a small craft advisory.”

The path

Tammy began as a low-pressure system east of Grenada, picking up energy as it moved towards the southern Caribbean, and it was named Tropical Storm Tammy after maximum sustained winds averaged 40 miles per hour when it was about 600 miles east of the Windward Islands, according to a United States National Hurricane Centre bulletin released at 5 p.m. on Oct. 18.

Various forecasts and spaghetti models showed the hurricane slowing as it neared the Leeward Islands before skirting around the rest of the Caribbean to finish her full turn due north, passing near the VI.

Hurricane hunter plane

On Friday at 10 a.m., US Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft data indicated that Tammy had become a hurricane about 90 miles northeast of Barbados.

Early the next morning, the government of Antigua and Barbuda issued a tropical storm watch for the VI, which the DDM posted at 2:06 a.m. on its Facebook page.

But throughout the weekend, the territory experienced little more than strong breezes and scattered rain showers.