updated 1:29 PM PDT, May 26, 2017
Xpower-Delta 728

Look Out For Boats – VISR Issues Poker Run Alert

Capt. Raman Bala, Director of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) is advising the general public and other water users to avoid if possible water sport activities in the area of the poker run for the duration of the competition on May 28th.

In an alert issued on May 23rd the Director of the VISR urged the public to be aware of boats going at full speed within the area of the poker run during the time of the races.

Capt. Bala also urged the poker run participants to maintain a sharp lookout for persons in water and other users of our waterways during the competition. He also noted that all boats participating in the event should be fit for purpose and fitted with the necessary equipment for safe navigation.

Now in its 16th year the annual poker is a competition that requires boats to meander the waters of the Territory and pick-up playing cards at various stops with the intention of creating a poker hand. The boat with the best poker hand will be deemed winner of the competition

This year's prizes include up to $15,000 in cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. There will also be special prizes for 4th, 5th, and 6th places. Prize money changes every year, as it is dependent on entry monies and sponsorships.

Additional prizes will be issued for: Most original boat, Best boat performance, best dressed crew, and best dressed lady. The best poker hand wins the Grand Prize: big money based on the total number of entries. There also are generous prizes for the 2nd and 3rd best hands. The entrance fee money goes towards the prize money, so the more boats the bigger the prizes.

Very Active Hurricane Season Predicted 

Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year.

For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30th, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

"As a Florida resident, I am particularly proud of the important work NOAA does in weather forecasting and hurricane prediction," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. "These forecasts are important for both public safety and business planning, and are a crucial function of the federal government."

Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

These numbers include Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare pre-season storm that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April.

“The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Strong El Ninos and wind shear typically suppress development of Atlantic hurricanes, so the prediction for weak conditions points to more hurricane activity this year. Also, warmer sea surface temperatures tend to fuel hurricanes as they move across the ocean. However, the climate models are showing considerable uncertainty, which is reflected in the comparable probabilities for an above-normal and near-normal season.

“NOAA’s broad range of expertise and resources support the nation with strong science and service before, during and after each storm to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy as we continue building a Weather-Ready Nation,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator."

“From our expert modelers to our dedicated forecasters and brave crews of our hurricane hunters, we’ll be here to warn the nation every step of the way this hurricane season.”

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