HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR AUGUSTUS JASPERT’S MESSAGE ON POTENTIAL TROPICAL CYCLONE 9
Good evening to all.
This afternoon I convened a meeting of the National Emergency Operations Centre’s operations group so that Territory leadership, including myself and the Deputy Premier, could receive a full briefing on the expectations for Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 and strategise how to enact our final preparations for that system.
Although still a potential tropical cyclone at the moment, this system is expected to develop into Tropical Storm Isaias [ees-ah-EE-ahs] tonight or tomorrow. If it continues on its current track and speed, we expect that we will begin to feel the effects of this system tomorrow afternoon and continuing until Thursday morning. In addition to tropical storm winds, this system has the potential to bring 3-6 inches of rain to the Territory. The BVI remains on a Tropical Storm Warning.
With all that in mind, we’ve decided to activate the NEOC at a Level 1, which means we will continue to actively monitor the system as it advances and prepare ourselves for possible escalation of response.
As you have heard me say before, the Territory is facing a particularly challenging season, but it is a challenge we appear well poised to face. I am pleased to share that across the public service and within our partner statutory bodies and non-governmental agencies, a proactive approach is being taken to protect the assets and particularly the people of the Virgin Islands. We continue to follow the philosophy that we prefer to put in extra effort and find that we have over-prepared, than be caught off-guard and wishing we had done more.
Public buildings and vehicles are being safeguarded. The departments of Public Works and Waste Management have been escalating their efforts to clear ghuts and debris and preparing for rapid deployment if needed after the system passes. Health authorities are arranging for the safety of their staff and patients, and the Department of Disaster Management has identified shelters across the Territory that can be opened if needed. Public officers have already been instructed by the Deputy Governor that physical offices should close tomorrow at 1pm, with operations to continue remotely thereafter.
For all of us, the task is to continue to monitor the progress of this system, as we all know that storms may change track or intensity with little notice. Protect your property by ensuring that there is adequate drainage and that there are no unsecured items around the home or business that can become dangerous in high winds. Ensure that you have emergency supplies on hand such as flashlights, a radio and spare batteries.
Looking to tomorrow and to the rest of the season, please continue to be vigilant. Already, there are additional systems coming off the coast of Africa. One we are watching closely may develop and track near us as early as next week while we mark our Emancipation Holidays, making it all the more important that we prepare now. We have no power to control or prevent these tropical weather systems, but we know that working together we can #BeReady.
Continue to stay safe and take care.