Ok, so we took a quick trip out to the Peninsula to see what was going on. One thing we realized was that where we live (in the hills of S Frigate Bay) it's incredibly protected. I mean, the air is actually stagnant. The leaves are barely moving on anything and thanks to the direction Earl is coming from, even the sea is calm.
Once you get up the nearby hill you get hit by a refreshing breeze. The ocean isn't that bad yet. Here's a picture that has the ocean on the left side and the sea on the right. Sure it's at a distance, but even up close, we've seen worse.
St. Kitts is a bit catty-cornered, so the Peninsula (both sides) and main island's ocean-side are what are vulnerable to the worst of whatever's coming (this time). The marina and cruise ship pier are more southwest so are dead calm.
Sandy Bank (on the ocean) and Cockleshell (on the sea) are more prone to winds coming from the east/south/east. So here's what Sandy Bank is looking like. There was still beach showing and although I wouldn't have gone swimming, didn't think it was a big deal yet. Of course, this will change...Like with most hurricanes, I think the rain will be an issue. Three weeks ago when we had 4 days of rain adding up to about 4", we had mudslides and flooding. This rain will come all at once, so could cause problems.
We did take a quick check of Cockleshell and saw the businesses there taking down tents, bringing in water toys, and readying themselves.
I couldn't help but notice that down on the Peninsula, the leaves on the grape trees were all turned showing their backsides. I've noticed this phenomenon before, but what was weird was that the leaves were only turned on trees the closest to the Peninsula's northeast points. Once we got over the hill to Frigate Bay, no such thing was happening. I didn't get a chance to take pictures of that, but Michael might. A quick explanation of why leaves turn over (courtesy of Yahoo!) is: Rain clouds are low, close to the ground, therefore creating high pressure. The air bounces up from the ground and turns the leaves. When the leaves turn, rain is moving in. A more complicated one is here.
According to the latest updates, the storm does now have a northerly component and has slowed down a bit. It might just turn! The rains have just reached Antigua & Barbuda (about 60 miles northeast of us), so we should start getting some rain ourselves in a few hours. It does look like Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Martinique are getting engulfed as well, but no one's talking about what seems like the bottom-half of the storm. We should be dealing with the highest winds we'll get by early, early Monday morning. I'm going to go out on a limb and say we'll have sustained winds in the high 30s with gusts maybe in the 50s (which is nothing really - we were anchored in that when Ana passed through last summer). So let's see if I'm right. If not, I'll deny ever saying it (posts can be deleted).
I promise I won't regal you with this kind of detail every storm (especially with several of them just a few days behind each other), but I thought you might find it interesting to see how we track them and how they affect the island.
We just got a text from our cell phone provider with a # to text for the latest updates should the power go out, so that's cool. Restaurants are still trying to decide whether to be open or not. It's not easy!
Less than 300 miles to go!
Note Earl's worst is due west of us right now...turn...turn...turn...there's still time man!