Anguilla + 6 more

Hurricane Lenny Now Category Four Storm

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Washington November 17, 1999 -- The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports Hurricane Lenny, now a dangerous category four storm, continues moving towards the Northeastern Caribbean islands.

As of early this morning, NHC's hurricane warning remains in effect for Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. A hurricane warning is also in effect for the islands of Dutch St. Maarten, French St. Martin, St. Barthelemey, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua, and Barbuda.

At 8 am EST, NHC forecasters tracked the center of Hurricane Lenny near latitude 16.9 north, longitude 65.4 west or about 115 miles South Southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is also about 70 miles Southwest of St. Croix.

Lenny is moving toward the east-northeast near 13 mph. NHC forecasters expect today the system will make a gradual turn to the northeast. This track would have the core of the hurricane approaching the hurricane warning area later today. Weather conditions will continue to worsen over the warning area this morning.

Maximum sustained winds are now near 135 mph.with higher gusts. Lenny is a dangerous category four hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson hurricane scale, the fifth hurricane of the 1999 season to reach this level. NHC forecasters note that stronger winds could be experienced in mountainous areas and over unprotected south and west facing harbors. They also expect that some further strengthening is possible today.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

The latest minimum central pressure reported an air force reserve Hurricane hunter aircraft was 949 mb...28.02 inches.

Lenny is expected to produce rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches with locally higher amounts in mountainous regions. The rains can produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. San Juan doppler radar this morning shows heavy rains continuing to spread over portions of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the northern Leeward Islands.

NHC forecasters also warn that storm surge flooding of 5 to 8 ft. above normal accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves are possible near the center of the hurricane warning area. Isolated tornadoes are also possible.