The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) will be opening the doors of emergency shelters across the Territory, should Tropical Storm Isaac affect the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The latest forecasts from the DDM today, September 11, stated that Isaac is now back to a Tropical Storm and is predicted to impact the Lesser Antilles on Thursday morning as a Tropical Storm, nearing hurricane strength.
Predictions suggest that Isaac will pass approximately 200 miles south of the BVI as a strong Tropical Storm.
Speaking to this publication, Director of the DDM, Ms. Sharlene DaBreo related that while it is not expected that the BVI will be majorly affected, should it be necessary, the DDM will be activating the 19 emergency shelters that were listed earlier this year.
“The system is projected to pass over 200 miles away from us. We are continuing to monitor its progress for any sudden changes, but there is an expectation that it will be safely away from us, that we may get very minimal effects,” she divulged.
Back in June, the DDM released a list of 19 shelters that will be functional if need arises, and according to the Director, “the shelters that have been listed are the ones that we will open.”
These shelters are located in areas on Tortola, as well as the sister-islands.
While Tropical Storm Isaac is not expected to hit the Territory, its effects are expected to be felt. The DDM predicts that the Territory may experience cloudy skies, showers and thunderstorms beginning late Thursday. Rainfall up to 15mm and seas as high as 10 feet are also within the realm of possibilities.
Statement By Governor Gus Jaspert On Tropical Storm Isaac
Residents and visitors of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), by now many of you would have been following the development of the weather systems in the Atlantic. Of these systems it would appear that Tropical Storm Isaac may create some unstable weather conditions in the BVI on Thursday of this week.
On its current path, the centre of Isaac is expected to track over 200 miles south of the BVI which means that the centre is expected to pass over or near the island of Dominica. Our thoughts are with our partners in the region as they prepare.
Over the past year, we have been focused on progressing the implementation of the Cabinet approved readiness plan to heighten the Territory’s state of preparedness.
On August 31st the DDM provided a listing of 21 land-based emergency shelters that can be used in the event of any significant impacts from storms that may affect us this year (add in link). This includes shelters on our Sister Islands: Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and Anegada. I am pleased that work has started on some 13 other emergency shelters mainly consisting of community centres and church halls. Once completed and reassessed these shelters will complement the existing list.
Also, work is ongoing at the Paraquita Bay and Sea Cow’s Bay Marine Shelters to clear these harbours and to provide a safe refuge for marine assets that remain in the Territory.
Since the passage of the hurricanes last year, over 100,000 tons of residential waste and 450,000 cubic yards of debris have also been collected in Tortola and the Sister Islands. Residents are encouraged to expedite the removal of any loose materials from their properties and surrounding areas.
The Government has also been working to re-establish the telecommunications network and has the ability to communicate with the Sister Islands. Our emergency telecoms capabilities are being supplemented with satellite phones from the UK and plans to rebuild a resilient radio network throughout the Territory are underway.
The DDM has also been working to restock supplies, supported by the UK Government at its central warehouse and plans to place these stocks in communities on the Sister Islands and on Tortola.
Although tropical storm Isaac appears to be heading far south of the Virgin Islands, its path and intensity remain uncertain. So, let us not be complacent and ensure that we all have personal preparations in place and the same goes for businesses.
Let us continue to carefully monitor the progress of Isaac and any subsequent weather systems that may develop and the information being shared by the DDM as they continue to ensure that we are as ready as possible.
Let us together stay ready and be ready.