A good afternoon to all in the Virgin Islands.
We have had a mostly quiet night and morning as Tropical Storm Fiona has continued to move west. Please be advised that the Virgin Islands remains on Tropical Storm Warning, with tropical storm conditions potentially arriving this afternoon and continuing into tomorrow.
The Department of Disaster Management continues to monitor Fiona’s developments closely. Sustained wind speeds are estimated at 60 miles per hour, and they extend out up to 125 miles from the centre.
Forecasters have identified a re-formed centre farther to the east, along with a shift toward the north in its movement and a decrease in forward speed. All of this means that the Virgin Islands is likely to continue to experience rainfall and gusty conditions well after the centre of the storm passes our area.
These changes make it more important for businesses operating today to watch conditions closely and be responsive.
I know that serving your customers and clients is important, but I urge businesses to consider closing doors early to allow staff to return home safely, as well as to allow the secure closing of premises.
We continue to anticipate the likely impacts of heavy rains rough seas; flash flooding, especially in low-lying or flood prone areas; and gusty conditions. The Virgin Islands remains under a small craft warning, with waves 7-13 feet high as well as storm surge of 1-3 feet. The experts at the National Hurricane Centre estimate that we may yet see rainfall totals between 4-6 inches.
We can observe that Fiona has already brought some very serious impacts to our neighbours. Reports from Guadaloupe are that one man died tragically when his home was swept away by rushing waters.
Out of an abundance of caution, I am asking that anyone who is not an essential worker please stay home and off the roads from 11:00 p.m. until an all-clear is issued. This request is to protect you, and helps protect emergency responders from making any unnecessary call-outs.
I’d like to assure the public that officers from our critical public services have been working to prepare for the impacts of Tropical Storm Fiona, putting storm plans into action. I know that many of you at home have been doing your own last minute preparations, and I thank you for doing your part to help the Virgin Islands Be Ready.
Please continue to follow the updates being shared by the Department of Disaster Management as we monitor this dynamic storm.