INTRODUCTION The 2010 Hurricane season was extremely active in the Caribbean Basin and caused significant infrastructural damage and loss of life to a few countries. Three (3) tropical cyclones caused warnings to be issued for the British Caribbean Territories (BCT) during 2010. All of the cyclones, Earl, Nicole and Otto, caused significant impacts due to rainfall and storm surge.
EARL (August 28 - 30) Anguillawas placed under tropical storm watch at 0900UTC on 28 August although the centre of Tropical Storm Earl was at that time forecast to pass approximately 100 miles (160km) at its closest point to the northeast of the island. At 1500UTC, Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands were placed under a hurricane watch as the storm centre was then forecast to pass within 22 miles (35km) of the island of Anguilla. However, due to the cone of uncertainty, there was the possibility that the cyclone could impact on all the States that make up the Northern Leeward Islands. Earl strengthened into a hurricane at 1500UTC on 29 August and although the centre of Earl passed within 18 miles (29km) at its closest approach to Anguilla, none of the States mentioned measured hurricane strength winds. The British Virgin Islands, however, measured a gust of 72 mph (115 km/h) at 2330UTC on 30 August.
On 29 August, as Hurricane Earl passed to the northeast of the Leeward Islands, a strong convergence band hammered the island of Montserrat, producing a maximum gust of 46 mph (76 km/h) and rainfall of 11.81 inches (300.8mm) for a 18-hour period ending 1200UTC on 30 August. It also generated waves of 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 metres) which caused coastal inundation and erosion. Anguilla experienced strong winds and heavy rainfall from Earl on 30 August. Rainfall of 4.42 inches (115.5mm) was measured at the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport. Three houses were destroyed and a further twenty-five (25) were damaged. Six hotels were also damaged along with coastal erosion. In the British Virgin Islands, it produced 6 inches (154.7mm) of rainfall on 30 August but the primary damage was to their docks and jetties due to the storm surge.
Guadeloupe Radar image of Earl showing the convergence band affecting Montserrat, St. Kitts/Nevis and Anguilla (courtesy Météo-France)
MODIS image of Hurricane Earl on 30th August with
cloud cover over the Northern Leeward Islands
Damaged jetty in Anegada, British Virgin Islands
Rough Seas viewed in Montserrat associated
with the passage of Earl
NICOLE (September 28 - 29) The Cayman Islands were placed under a tropical storm watch at 1500UTC on 28 September for Tropical Storm Nicole, with its centre approximately 113 miles (180km) to the northwest of Grand Cayman. During its lifetime, the centre of Nicole's was difficult to identify using satellite imagery as its major convection was displaced to some distance to the west of its centre. Grand Cayman received 9.07 inches (280.8mm) of rainfall during the period from 0000UTC on 27 September to 0000UTC on 29 September and maximum guts of 51 mph (81km/h) on 29 September. The rainfall produced some minor flooding in Grand Cayman.
Track of TS Nicole
IR Satellite image at 0215UTC on
29th September showing displaced
cloud maxima partly over Jamaica
OTTO (5 - 8 October) Otto developed to the north of Puerto Rico and was classified as a sub-tropical storm. The British Virgin Islands were impacted by the rainfall generated by Otto over the three-day period from 5 8 October. Weather stations on Tortola reported rainfall in excess of 24 inches (609.6mm), with the highest rainfall measured in Brewers Bay, Tortola of 26.44 inches (671.6mm).
There was significant damage to private property and infrastructure with the undermining of roadways, blockage of water courses due rock falls and landslides. A preliminary estimate to replace or repair the damaged infrastructure is US $10 million.
Damage in the British Virgin Islands associated with Sub-Tropical Storm Nicole
CONCLUSION None of the centres of the tropical cyclones made landfall on any of the island States that make up the British Caribbean Territories. However, there was significant damaged associated with rainfall and wave action from these systems. Infrastructure in Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands suffered the major damage with no loss of life. Unfortunately, since their Services only provide meteorology for aviation, the Automatic Weather Stations at the airports were dismantled to avoid damage and so there is no data on measured wind speeds during the passage of the cyclones.
1 The British Caribbean Territories (BCT) - a Member Territory of the WMO - comprise Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands