Earl brushed by the U. S. and British Virgin Islands as a category 4 yesterday and last night. Luckily the eye was some 110 miles north. Still, storm force winds extended outward some 70 miles.
I spoke to my sister, Erva, yesterday afternoon around 4 PM as Earl was gearing up. Already the winds were at a steady 40 to 45 MPH with gusts up to about 60. This morning, when she called she said the winds had topped out at about 70 MPH with gusts up to 85 or 90. And it was 12 hours of wind! A healthy storm. Not something to be trifled with by any means, but certainly not terrible.
There was no damage to the house, but we lost two female genip trees. Although they are no great big loss, it's too bad as they were the only female trees on the property and they happened to be full of fruit. Also, they blocked the view of the neighbor's house. Lastly, they were 35 to 40 years old, grown from seeds I probably spit out. Sniff, sniff :(
Erva still has land line phone access. But she expects they'll be out of power for a least a week. Being West Indian, she is fully self-sufficient and will survive quite "easily" until power is restored. She's been through far worse blows, like when Hurricane Marilyn blew the roof off. She and my mother were without power for MONTHS. Not only that, they lived under a blue FEMA tarp for nearly three years. That's how long it took to get the house rebuilt to its present form, which is probably pretty-near hurricane proof.
I don't know how the rest of the island(s) have fared, but I'm sure I'll learn more in the coming days. I will be trying to contact my cousin Rafe on St. John and other friends. My cousin, Frances, in Puerto Rico reported to Erva that they didn't get much of anything.
All in all, Erva came through relatively unscathed.
But Earl is a big and dangerous storm. NOAA is predicting it'll skirt the east coast, which would be a good thing. If it does I wouldn't be surprised if there was some coastal erosion.