24th SEPTEMBER, 2019 — Good day to all residents and visitors in the Virgin Islands.
The National Emergency Operations Centre continues to monitor Tropical Storm Karen as this system deteriorated somewhat overnight and then regained strength today. The Territory remains under Tropical Storm Warning, meaning that tropical storm conditions are expected in our islands.
As of 11:00 AM, forecasters at the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Services advised that we can expect up to 5 inches of rain. Given our already saturated ground and our mountainous terrain, we should all be on our guard for the possibility of flooding. Forecasters also advised that there is a possibility of the existing Flash Flood Watch being upgraded to a Flash Flood Warning at short notice. This means that persons who know they reside in flood prone areas such as low-lying areas or along the coastline should seek higher ground until after this system passes; and that those residing near slopes should take action to guard against mudslides.
We saw from the 2:00 PM update that Karen is slightly stronger as the center reforms a little to the west. The system located about 111 miles west-southwest of the Territory and approaching us at just 8 miles per hour. In addition, we know that the south eastern portion of this system contains the most activity. Taken together, we can surmise that the showers, rough seas and gusty winds we are seeing now are likely only the beginning of what Karen has in store for us.
Over the course of today, Government has been hard at work making sure that all final preparations necessary to Be Ready for Karen are put into place. In the public health sector, we saw health professionals seeing patients this morning to minimise the need for persons to be out on the road this afternoon. The Department of Waste Management, Public Works Department, and Water and Sewerage Department workers were all on duty from the wee hours of this morning ensuring that our roadways, ghuts and drains could be cleared by noon. These folks, along with our emergency responders like those within the police and fire services, do their duty not because they want recognition from me, but I nonetheless want to highlight their excellence and consistency. I, and the entire Territory, appreciate your service.
Please have patience and stay alert as Tropical Storm Karen passes. Continue to monitor your local media as well as the websites and social media pages of Government and the DDM, where we will continue to issue bulletins as needed.
I ask you to continue to do all this as a Territory while we continue to take a consistent approach to managing hazard impacts and disasters which involves being cautious, caring, responsible and to always Be Ready.
God bless you and be safe.