Joint Statement from
His Excellency, the Governor Augustus Jaspert
and Premier, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith
On Category 5 Hurricane Irma
5 September 2017
Virgin Islanders, Residents and Visitors good morning.
The Premier and I remain in consultation on the progress of Hurricane Irma which is nearing the Leewards and Virgin Islands.
Irma is now a very dangerous Category 5 Hurricane with sustained winds of near 175 mph and continues to strengthen as it approaches the Territory. This could be the strongest hurricane to hit the BVI in recent memory. There should be no complacency.
We are extremely concerned about the hurricane’s projected path, strength and level of impact. Nonetheless, it is important that we all remain calm so that we make the best decisions for ourselves and families.
The island of Anegada is low lying and destructive storm surge of 10 to 14 feet is possible. Residents are strongly urged to move to Virgin Gorda or Tortola with friends and family or to the designated emergency shelters. We will provide transportation to do this. The last ferry is scheduled to leave Anegada at 12 noon for Tortola and Virgin Gorda. This is your final opportunity to make a decision to move to a safer location. Those residents who do not leave the island will be at severe risk. Emergency response public servants will not be on the island to assist immediately.
Residents of low-lying coastal communities and other vulnerable areas and structures should also consider moving to an emergency shelter or with friends and family members located in safer or stronger structures. We know this might be a difficult decision for some of you to make but we cannot take any chances based on the hurricane forecast.
Storm surge will also impact coastal communities across the Virgin Islands so a decision should be made to move further inland.
Individuals living in high elevations must also take extra precautionary measures to secure their windows and doors as we could experience extremely strong winds. Consider moving to an area of lower elevation but away from areas with a possibility of landslides and flooding.
Irma is a dangerous major hurricane with potential to cause catastrophic damage. Forecasters tell us that we can expect life-threatening winds, storm surge with waves as high as 40 feet, and rainfall impacts of between 8 and 14 inches. Therefore, we must complete all your preparations now!
Please continue monitor all media platforms – radio, television and the Department of Disaster Management’s Website (bviddm.com) and Facebook page BVI DDM for updates on the hurricane’s progress and for safety tips.
To all in the Virgin Islands, our message to you is to be ready, evacuate if necessary and stay safe.
May God bless and protect the Territory.