Just a week and a half after the movement of Hurricane Irene through our islands, another system, Hurricane Katia, is approaching the Territory. Katia has been tracking towards the WNW, and is expected to remain on this track for the next 1-2 days. Forecasters have predicted a gradual turn to the NW over the weekend. If this happens, Katia will pass about 300 miles north of the Caribbean Sea between Monday and Tuesday. By then it could well be a Category 3 hurricane.
But the forecast track could change as the system continues to develop. If Katia does NOT make the predicted northerly turn, a far more severe impact may be experienced in our Territory. I therefore urge residents to monitor the information coming from the DDM and to ensure that all preparedness measures are fully in place for protection against this growing and potentially dangerous storm. The DDM has advised me that it is still too early to predict or provide details on the likely effects of Katia on the Virgin Islands. But forecasters have indicated that high waves could affect the northern shores of all the Leeward Islands. This information is particularly relevant for boaters and beach goers.
The Department of Disaster Management will continue to update their website www.bviddm.com regularly. In the event that Katia poses an increased risk for our islands, they will activate their Emergency Broadcast and Communications System to provide information through all available media. Residents are asked to pay close attention to all local TV and radio stations and local online media services. It is important for everyone to ensure that they have access to information, even during a power outage.
Please contact the Department for information on how to be better prepared during the approach of this system. I take this opportunity to remind all residents that we are now approaching the peak of the 2011 Hurricane Season, with the surrounding waters being at the ideal temperatures for tropical storm development. We must therefore remain vigilant and in a constant state of readiness.
His Excellency, The Governor
Boyd Mc Cleary
1st September 2011