MESSAGE BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR JOHN J RANKIN CMG ON TROPICAL STORM PHILIPPE’S PASSAGE NEAR THE TERRITORY
Good day to all in the Virgin Islands.
I have been closely monitoring the development of Tropical Storm Philippe, and I have been briefed regularly by the team at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).
I trust and hope that you all have been monitoring the regular updates coming from the DDM. If so, you will know that the official meteorological office in Antigua which covers our area has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the Virgin Islands. A tropical storm watch means that we should prepare for the possibility that tropical storm conditions may occur somewhere within the Territory.
At their latest update at 2:00 p.m. today, the National Hurricane Centre reported that Tropical Storm Philippe was located near latitude 19 degrees North; 64.4 degrees West. Philippe is moving to the northwest at about 10 miles per hour. The storm currently has sustained wind speeds of 45 miles per hour, and winds extend outward from the centre up to 175 miles.
What might we in the Virgin Islands expect from Philippe? Forecasters have repeatedly called this a difficult system to predict, but they warn that we may see wind speeds of 30 miles per hour. They also report the possibility of 4-8 inches of rain over the next 24 hours, which means that flash flooding is possible. Rough seas and rip currents, especially on the northern sides of the islands, are also expected, and a small craft advisory is in effect.
Based on all this, and out of an abundance of caution, the National Emergency Operations Centre will be activating this afternoon at Level 1, which is the monitoring phase. Close monitoring means that if conditions worsen, our first responders and essential workers will be ready for immediate response.
What should you do at home? Continue to follow the updates coming from the Department of Disaster Management. It is also time to review your plans, and ensure that you are prepared to activate emergency procedures at home and work. Persons in low lying or flood prone areas should take steps to safeguard their property.
Any further advice and information will be shared as soon as it is received. In the meantime please look out for each other and stay safe.