Power Lines, Lenny ...
 

Power Lines, Lenny vs. Maria  

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thoogie
Posts: 41
(@thoogie)
Advanced Member
Joined: 14 years ago

Does anybody recall how bad the power outages/snapped poles were after Lenny in November 1999? We came down about 2 weeks after Lenny hit and remember seeing downed poles by Great Pond and no power at the Tamarind. Fortunately staying at the Caravelle (they had power) the second half of the trip was preplanned. It was our third trip to STX so we didn't know the island like we do now.

Doing a cursory quick Wiki lookup on the two hurricanes shows similar speeds and distances from STX. I'm not going to analyze the details because I'm not a meteorologist. I remember people saying Lenny was a 4/5 not a 4.

Now for my question. Is all the power lines/poles damage, island wide, mind you, caused entirely by Cat 5 vs. Cat 4 or has WAPA neglecting preventative maintenance caused a good portion of it?

13 Replies
Jumbie
Posts: 708
(@ohiojumbie-2)
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Joined: 10 years ago

Having been a resident of STX in 2008 when Lenny hit the island on the south east and east side it was more like a Cat 4. It took down utility poles only in that region of the island, The island's power grid went down but within a week to 10 days all the island had power again. We lived in Cane Bay and our power was out 8 days.

With Cat 5 Maria it took down approx 50,000 utility pole and full power restoration to the island will be measured in months not a few days. Some areas may be without power for up to 5-6 months. One has to remember Cat 5 Hurricane Irma soaked the island with rain and tropical force winds about 2 weeks prior to Maria.

There is no preventative measure WAPA could have done to minimize the damage. The only way to minimize damage to the electrical grid is to bury all lines underground. That isn't happening because after Hugo they had the $$ to do that but didn't. They only buried lines to the Hospital and some other selected gov’t buildings.

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islandjoan
Posts: 1724
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Joined: 12 years ago

Jumbie, the hurricane in 2008 was Omar. The center of the hurricane was (I believe) 20 miles offshore and it was turning into a cat 3 as it passed from the west to the east.

Lenny was in 1999, also passing from the west to the east.

Here is a good analysis of Omar.Hurricane Omar

Hurricanes passing from west to east in the location of both of these storms subject the island to the western eye wall. A storm passing from east to west subjects the island to the eastern eye wall, typically the most intense part of the hurricane.

Maria definitely subjected St. Croix to much stronger sustained winds and wind gusts, than either storm did previously.

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Scubadoo
Posts: 2234
(@Scubadoo)
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Joined: 5 years ago

Most of the pole damage from Maria was due to the hurricane force winds, either directly on the wood poles or by knocking over trees and branches landing on the wires which snapped the poles. Some of the poles were over weighted (WAPA's fault) which helped the winds knock them over. WAPA does regular preventative tree trimming to avoid the ability of trees and branches to land on wires but they do not keep up with all the growth. Ideally there should be no indirect damage from trees.

WAPA is now using some composite poles to replace the old ones which have a higher wind rating. How much? They haven't said. South Florida uses steel reinforced concrete poles. Don't see many of those lying on the ground after a hurricane.

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Jumbie
Posts: 708
(@ohiojumbie-2)
Trusted Member
Joined: 10 years ago

Jumbie, the hurricane in 2008 was Omar. The center of the hurricane was (I believe) 20 miles offshore and it was turning into a cat 3 as it passed from the west to the east.

Lenny was in 1999, also passing from the west to the east.

Here is a good analysis of Omar.Hurricane Omar

Hurricanes passing from west to east in the location of both of these storms subject the island to the western eye wall. A storm passing from east to west subjects the island to the eastern eye wall, typically the most intense part of the hurricane.

Maria definitely subjected St. Croix to much stronger sustained winds and wind gusts, than either storm did previously.

islandjoan

My bad --you are correct. Thank you for the correction. Anyway we did not live there when Lenny hit We lived there when Omar hit.

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