Predictions of a “busy” hurricane season are proving all too true. While Frances is still churning the waters of the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida panhandle, Ivan continues to gather strength off the coast of Venezuela.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami has issued a hurricane watch for the Barbados and St. Lucia, while a tropical storm watch remains in effect for Grenada and its dependencies.
As of Monday morning Ivan’s center was located “near latitude 10.7 north – longitude 50.6 west or about 625 miles (1010 km) east-southeast of Barbados.” It’s moving toward the west-northwest at a rapid 21-mph (33 km/hr). The NHC expects “this to continue for the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 135 mph (215 km/hr) with higher gusts.”
The bulletin also warned that “Ivan continues to strengthen rapidly and is currently a category 4 hurricane. If this intensification phase continues, Ivan will approach category 5 status during the next 12 to 24 hours. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km.) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).”
If the storm becomes that powerful, people in its path can only hope it won’t live up to its namesake, the Russian Czar, known to history as “Ivan the Terrible.”
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