Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tropical storm Kirk

Tropical storm Kirk

Update 27 September 2018: As of 8pm Kirk was at 13.9N, 60.7W, just East of St. Lucia. Kirk is slowly falling apart, the center is ahead of the convection. In Barbados, just behind Kirk's center it is raining heavily at the moment.
Here in Bequia it was nice weather during the daytime, hardly any wind.

Update 26 September 2018: Kirk is back, as of 2pm the position was 12.5N 55W. A plane has investigated the storm and found winds up to 55 knots. Kirk is moving slightly North of West, so the center is expected to pass between Martinique and St. Lucia, where a tropical storm warning has been issued.
There is a tropical storm watch in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. My weather forecast stays the same.

Update 25 September 2018: Kirk is still called the remnants of Kirk, but looking at the infrared satellite picture these remnants look very active! He has gone a lot faster than initially expected, so rain and gusty winds are to be expected probably on Thursday, the Southerly wind on Friday.
Summary of current weather in the Grenadines:

Update 24 September 2018: As of 11 am advisories and updates from the national hurricane center on tropical storm Kirk have been discontinued as there is no closed circulation anymore.
I'd still suggest watching it closely as it will at least be a strong tropical wave when it passes through the island chain.

23 September 2018: There is another tropical storm named Kirk far to our East.
Kirk is very low latitude and is expected to reach the island chain on Friday, most probably passing just North of St. Vincent
He is rapidly (20knots) moving west and approaching warmer waters where he could strengthen some.
By the time Kirk approaches the island chain upper level westerly winds are expected to weaken him significantly and Kirk could pass the islands as a tropical depression, minor tropical storm or a strong tropical wave.
Regardless this expected weakening there could be a lot of rain and gusty winds on Friday, and strong Southerly to Southeasterly winds Saturday.
At 1700 September 23rd Kirk was located at 9.5N 32.3 W.
Updates to follow.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Tropical storm Isaac

Isaac again

Last update 13 sept 2018 11.00: At 11.00 the center of Isaac was located at 14.9N 61.8W which is between Dominica and Martinique. Isaac is now a weak tropical storm with winds of 45 knots. However, the rain bands behind it will affect the island chain throughout the day today, mostly right behind and to the North of the storm, but even the Windward Islands could get some.
In Bequia the wind has already shifted to a Southerly direction and it is partly sunny.

Update 12 sept 2018 11.15: Isaac has weakened a little more, and is now at 15N 54.7W.  A hurricane hunter plane has just been investigating the storm and found winds of 50 knots. So Isaac is now expected to pass through the island chain as a "normal" tropical storm. This will still mean significant amounts of rain at the former center of the storm, and even here in the Grenadines we might get some rain as Isaac is falling apart.

Update 11 sept 2018 12.00: Isaac is now a strong tropical storm at 14.6N 49.7W. There still is a high level of uncertainty as to Isaac's intensity when it passes through the island chain. This is why there is a hurricane watch for Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

Update 10 sept 2018: Surprisingly Isaac did not strengthen and is still a minor tiny hurricane. As of 5 pm he was located at 14.4N 45W. To give you an idea about how tiny he is: hurricane force winds of 64 knots or greater extend only 10 miles from the North of the center. Tropical storm force winds of 34 knots or greater only have a maximum radius of 40 nautical miles.

Update 10 sept 2018: As expected Isaac has strengthened into a minor hurricane and is continuing on its westward track. Isaac is a tiny hurricane which means that fluctuations in strength can be rapid and significant. For that reason there is a high level of uncertainty in the forecasts as to at which intensity it will pass through the island chain. My favorite computer model has it as a minor storm, but the National Hurricane center has it as a minor hurricane.
Consensus is very general now that it will pass somewhere North of Martinique, with Antigua getting the strongest winds..
For us here in Bequia that will most probably mean no wind at all on Wednesday before Isaac, and a nice breeze after he has passed through the island chain.

Track of Isaac 2012
In 2012 I wrote a post about a storm named Isaac that in a way affected Bequia. At this moment there is a next storm named Isaac to our East.

This Isaac, since coming off the coast off Africa as a tropical wave, then depression #9 is currently intensifying and may even become a hurricane soon.
The forecast track of Isaac 9-9-2018

This Isaac is so far following a very similar track as his namesake in 2012, and is forecast to pass through the island chain next week.

Where and at what intensity?
The official forecast has it passing through a minor hurricane/strong storm, the numerous "amateur" marine forecasters I follow and which are usually right have it passing through  as a minor storm/depression.

I'll keep updating this post as new information becomes available, stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Marijuana legalization in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Marijuana legalization

It may finally be happening, the legalization of marijuana for medical and religious purposes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

3 draft bills have been prepared, these will be debated in Parliament tomorrow, Thursday the 6th of September.
The first bill is an Amnesty Bill, giving farmers a chance to apply for a certificate of amnesty  while surrendering any harvest they may have at that time to the government. This amnesty period is supposed to have started already, and last well into 2019, but that was under the assumption that these bills would have been passed.
The second bill is the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill. This aims to legalize marijuana used for medical purposes. This is a very broad spectrum and includes: (a) pain associated with cancer;
(b) severe and treatment resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy;
(c) status of human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency
(d) Parkinson’s disease;
(e) multiple sclerosis;
(f) severe intractable epilepsy;
(g) damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological
indication of intractable spasticity;
(h) post-traumatic stress disorder;
(i) rheumatoid arthritis or any similar chronic autoimmune
inflammatory disorder with severe or debilitating conditions;
(j) autism;
(k) glaucoma;
(l) sickle cell anaemia;
(m) anxiety;
(n) sleep disorders;
(o) chronic pain;
(p) Alzheimer’s disease;
(q) Crohn’s disease;
(r) Hepatitis B;
(s) Dravett’s syndrome; and
(t) any other illness or condition declared by the Minister, acting on the
advice of the Council, by order published in the Gazette, to be a qualifying
medical condition;

What this means for the farmer: Once the farmer has the above certificate he or she can apply for a traditional cultivation license. With that it will be legal to grow, harvest, dry, trim, and package marijuana for medical purposes.

To make this economically as feasible an undertaking as it is now the marijuana farmer will need a purchaser of the product in bulk. And this is where in my opinion the glitch is, as this will involve big money. Medical marijuana is already a booming business and growing for big pharmaceutical companies. Chances are that they will simply take over the entire medical marijuana industry in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with no or only slight benefits to Vincentians.
This same bill covers a whole lot of other licenses: Types of licences.
(a) a cultivation licence, which shall be issued to allow for the growing, harvesting, drying,
trimming, curing or packaging of medicinal cannabis;
(b) a research licence, which shall be issued to allow for the conduct of scientific
research relating to the development of medicinal cannabis;
(c) a manufacturer licence, which shall be issued to allow for activities relating to the
processing and manufacturing of cannabis material and medicinal cannabis products,
including but not limited to, edibles and other derivatives;
(d) a dispensing licence, which shall be issued to allow for the dispensing of
medicinal cannabis to patients;
(e) an import licence, which shall be issued to allow for the importation of
medicinal cannabis products and planting material from any country where it is
legal so to do;
(f) an export licence, which shall be issued to allow for the exportation of
medicinal cannabis to any country in keeping with the laws of any such country;
(g) a transport licence, which shall be issued to allow for the transport of medicinal
cannabis; and
(h) a traditional cultivator’s licence, which shall be issued solely to citizen of Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines, to grow, harvest, dry, trim, cure or package

The third act is the Permitted use of Cannabis for religious purposes bill, which simply permits rastafarians for example to use marijuana at their churches/ceremonies or events.

Comments on these Bills are still invited, you can send them to:
Hon. Attorney General
    Ministry of Legal Affairs
    Methodist Church Building
    Tel: 1 784 457-2586

You can view the bills in full here: