Puerto Rico News

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite VIIRS instrument captured this thermal image on Sept. 20, 2017, at 2:12 a.m. EDT (0612 UTC). At the time, Maria’s eye was just east of the American Virgin Islands, and its northwestern quadrant stretched over Puerto Rico. (Credit: NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team)

Weakened Maria Could Regain Major Hurricane Status -NHC

Maria, which weakened into a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday, could regain major hurricane status by Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory.   Catastrophic flash flooding was occurring over portions of Puerto Rico with conditions now deteriorating over the eastern Dominican Republic, the NHC said.   The hurricane was about 25 miles (45 km) north northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 km per hour), the Miami-based NHC said. Any hurricane with top sustained winds of at least 111 is classified as

Image: Aguirre Offshore

FERC Issues DEIS for Gasport off Puerto Rico

Excelerate Energy, in cooperation with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), has received the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its Aguirre Offshore Gasport Project (AOGP) located offshore Puerto Rico. The FERC staff concludes in its statement that the construction and operation of the Project would result in limited adverse environmental impacts that would mostly occur only during construction. Moreover, the statement confirms the inherent benefits of the project; including, the diversification of Puerto Rico’s

Ocean Discovery XPRIZE Testing Altered

 The deep sea off the southern coast of Puerto Rico was initially chosen as the Round 1 Field Test location for the 19 semifinalist teams competing in the $7 million Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. However, due to the island’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria, the first round of testing will now be a Technology Readiness Test comprised of site visits to each team, judged against 11 key measurement criteria. Round 1 begins in November 2017 and continues until February 2018, and will ensure the teams are challenged with rigorous criteria that show their technologies are capable of meeting the

Image: U.S. National Hurricane Center

Danny Strengthens into First Hurricane of 2015 Atlantic Season

, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.   Winds from Danny were gusting up to 75 miles per hour (120 kph), government forecasters said, just attaining hurricane status of at least 74 mph (120 kph) winds.   Danny was projected to weaken back into a tropical storm before reaching Puerto Rico on Tuesday morning, according to the Miami-based hurricane center's five-day outlook.   "Danny is a small tropical cyclone," the center said, adding that hurricane-force winds extended only 10 miles (20 km) from the center of the storm.     (Reporting by Letitia Stein

File photo: NOAA Ship Fairweather underway in Alaska (Photo: NOAA)

NOAA Releases 2018 Hydrographic Survey Plans

Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Fla. – This survey project provides updates to nautical charting products of the area and supports marine habitat research projects through the National Center for Coastal Ocean Science and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.   Atlantic Coast and Puerto Rico Approaches to Chesapeake Bay – This multi-year survey covers the approaches to Chesapeake Bay to support the safety of commerce and monitor the environmental health of the region. Approaches to Jacksonville, Fla. – The Port of Jacksonville entrance channel is in need of

Okeanos Explorer's dual-body ROV system is loaded from the aftdeck of the ship into the water before conducting an exploration dive. (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA to Explore Depths of Caribbean Sea

and Research, the federal program responsible for coordinating this expedition. “In order to understand and sustainably manage the ocean’s resources, we first have to survey what resources exist.”   Many of the expedition’s anticipated 20 ROV dives will take place in the Puerto Rico Trench, which is nearly 500 miles long and nearly 5.4 miles at its deepest – deeper than anywhere else in the Atlantic Ocean basin. Other areas to be explored include the Muertos Trough, Mona Channel and Virgin Islands Trough.   During the dives, Okeanos Explorer’s two-body

NOAA awards more than $8 million in grants and cooperative agreements for coral reef conservation this year. Funded projects will support efforts in seven U.S. states and territories, the Caribbean and Micronesia. (Credit: Claire Fackler, NOAA)

NOAA Boosts Efforts to Conserve Coral Reefs

fishing practices, as well as priority coral reef regions and watersheds.   Funded projects include grants to reduce sediment and improve water quality in U.S Virgin Islands, work with communities in Hawaii to address threats to coral reefs, support coral reef ecosystem conservation in Puerto Rico and strengthen outreach and education efforts.   Projects also include work to assess coral reef resiliency to climate change in multiple locations. Earlier this year, NOAA declared the third global coral bleaching event, an event leading to the loss of huge areas of coral across the U

Long Island lights recovery: Photo credit USCG

Hi-tech Goggles Help Divers Locate Sandy-downed Structures

. Through significant team efforts, important landmarks are being recovered and waterways are being cleared of debris that remain from the storm. Coast Guard RDLE divers are expertly-trained, highly-motivated professionals supporting operations from the Arctic to surveys of coral reefs off of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Without the hard work between the RDLE, ANT Moriches and Station Jones Beach, this mission never could have been completed,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Smith, the officer in charge at ANT Moriches. “As proud stewards of the environment

El Faro's voyage data recorder next to the ship's mast on ocean floor (Photo: NTSB)

US Aims to Recover El Faro VDR in Next Few Months

in Falmouth, Massachusetts. "We would like to get out there over the next several months, two to three months." The 790-foot (241-meter) El Faro, owned by Sea Star Line LLC and operated by TOTE Services, went down off the Bahamas on Oct. 1 while on a cargo run between Florida and Puerto Rico. It was the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in more than three decades. It may take time to extract data from the recorder due to its long immersion, Curtis said, noting that the device was designed to withstand the pressure of being submerged under as much as

Deploying APEX Deep: Photo credit Teledyne Webb Research

Teledyne Webb's APEX® Deep MakesRecord Dive

Teledyne Webb Research's Autonomous Profiling Explorer (APEX®) Deep, dives to a record 6,000 meters. The record drive, in the Puerto Rico trench was launched from the R/V Kruger B out of San Juan, starting its dive the afternoon on February 25, 2013.  Approximately twenty two hours later the float surfaced and transmitted its data over the Iridium satellite network. APEX floats are based on a buoyancy engine and have been commercially available since founder Douglas Webb opened Webb Research in 1982.  APEX floats descend to a programmed depth where they become neutrally buoyant and

Image: NOAA

Tropical Storm Kate Halts El Faro Salvage Operation

search area to seek refuge from the storm, and how soon it might resume its mission.   The center of Kate was forecast to leave the Bahamas on Monday night, the National Hurricane Center said.   The 790-foot (240-meter) El Faro sank on Oct. 1, on a regular weekly run between Florida and Puerto Rico, after the captain reported losing propulsion and taking on water.   The wreck is sitting in such deep water that it is beyond the reach of divers, so the salvage team is using an underwater sonar device to try to locate the bridge. (Reporting by David Adams; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

Photo: Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Selected as Maritime Research Center of Excellence

selection, announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate will provide Stevens with $2 million per year for five years. The Center will also include the following partner institutions: MIT, University of Miami, Rutgers University, University of Puerto Rico and Elizabeth City State University. Stevens also has new partners with which it will collaborate on research projects, including LSU, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Connecticut. "This award comes after a nearly year-long competition that challenged our researchers

Anthony Morales dives with his Pulse 8X detector in Puerto Rico recovering lost jewelry and other “treasures”. (Photo: JW Fishers)

Underwater Metal Detecting Makes Diving a Treasure Hunt

, even for divers that have “done it all”: underwater photography, spearfishing, rebreathers, scooters, etc. As one diver said, “It doesn’t take a gold bar to get the adrenaline pumping; any discovery feels like treasure. It’s like an Easter egg hunt.”   Puerto Rico has a long rich history and is often referred to as “land of the pirates”. “Discovered” by Columbus on his first voyage to the new world, it later became a strategic base in the power struggle for control of the Caribbean from the 16th century on. By the 18th century the

Underwater Metal Detecting Makes Every Dive a Treasure Hunt

Underwater Metal Detecting Makes Every Dive a Treasure Hunt

, rebreathers, scooters, etc, are surprised with the thrill they get finding things with a detector. As one diver joyously exclaimed, “It doesn’t take a gold bar to get the adrenaline pumping, any discovery feels like treasure. It’s like an Easter egg hunt!”   Puerto Rico has a long rich history and is often referred to as “land of the pirates”. It was “discovered” by Columbus on his first voyage to the new world in 1493. From the 16th century on, it became a strategic base in the power struggle for control of the Caribbean. By the 18th

Voyage data recorder next to El Faro mast on ocean floor (Photo: NTSB)

El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder Located

navigation bridge, which could provide investigators with important evidence as they seek to understand the sequence of events that led to the sinking.   The 790-foot, U.S.-flagged, cargo ship sank October 1, 2015, during Hurricane Joaquin while sailing from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico. All 33 crewmembers aboard perished in the accident.    In an earlier mission, investigators identified the vessel and related debris field on the ocean floor but were unable to locate the voyage data recorder. The second mission, in which more advanced sonar and imagery systems were

(Photo: AUVSIF)

RoboSub Competition: 20 Years of Fun and Learning

fourth place and $2,000 was Harbin Engineering University from China. Georgia Institute of Technology rounded out the top five, taking home $1,000.    Smaller awards of $1,500 and $1,000 in specially judged categories went to Cornell University, San Diego State University, University of Puerto Rico at Myaguez, McGill University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.    The Author Sierra Jones is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.  

Image: U.S. National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Erika Heads for Florida

Tropical Storm Erika lashed Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with heavy rain and fierce winds on Friday, moving across the Caribbean and apparently heading for the Dominican Republic, northern Haiti and eventually South Florida, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.   Due to some likely weakening over the Dominican Republic, Erika was no longer forecast to make U.S. landfall as a hurricane. It could still smack the Miami area with sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (97 kph) on Monday, however, before sweeping northward up the Florida peninsula, affecting Orlando's popular theme parks.

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