BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – WITH Tropical Storm Maria heading towards the central and northern Lesser Antilles, tropical storm watches and warnings have been put in effect for specific Caribbean territories including St. Kitts and Nevis.
According to an advisory issued by the St. Kitts Meteorological Office at 8:00 a.m. today (Sept. 9), the system is located approximately 450 miles east-north-east of St. Kitts Nevis and has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (mph). It is travelling in a west-north-westerly direction at a speed of 18 mph.
The advisory indicates that tropical storm warnings are in effect for Guadeloupe, St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius, Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, the British Virgin Islands and the United States Virgin Islands. And tropical storm watches are in effect for Dominica, St. Barthelemy, St. Maarten, Martinique and Puerto Rico.
While no warnings or watches have been issued for the Dominical Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas, these territories are being asked to monitor Maria as she ploughs through the Atlantic and the Caribbean.
Maria is currently located at latitude 14.0° north and longitude 56.9° west and its current movement is expected to continue over the next 24 to 36 hours. Should this occur, Maria’s centre “will reach the Leeward Islands early Saturday”. However “tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the Lesser Antilles by late today”.
The St. Kitts Meteorological Office further advises that Tropical Storm Maria is “expected to produce total rain accumulations of three to five inches with isolated maximum amounts of eight inches over the Lesser Antilles”.
A press release issued by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has advised that Maria is expected to pass St. Kitts and Nevis “between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. tomorrow morning (Saturday), however, persons are reminded that heavy rainfall can be as impacting as any major hazard, especially when occurring over a short period of time…”
NEMA has attached a note to employers asking them to allow their employees adequate time to make any necessary last-minute preparations for the impending storm.
“A call has also been made to the business community to consider extending business hours for today, Friday 9th, as the forecast for tomorrow suggests that it will not be business as usual.
NEMA has advised the following:
- Continue to monitor local media for further updates and advisories
- Refrain from taking unnecessary chances that may endanger life and limb.
- Stay off the roadways during impact so as not to hinder the response capability of the essential services, such as EMS and the Security Forces,
- Do not park in known waterways and ghauts for any period,
- Do not attempt to drive through raging water and
- Move to higher ground if you reside in areas that are prone to flooding.