Prime Minister Jacobs addresses the Nation as Tropical Storm Fiona Approaches
GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Tropical Storm Fiona continues on its track towards the Leeward Islands. Sint Maarten remains under a Tropical Storm Warning.
According to the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS), Tropical Storm Fiona on Friday morning at 11:30 AM was located approximately 284 miles southeast of Sint Maarten. The storm has moved a little further to the south and has reduced in strength overnight and is currently on a westward track at 14 miles per hour. With the current forecast track, the center of Tropical Storm Fiona is expected to pass 100 miles southwest of Sint Maarten on Saturday morning. The country is still expected to receive tropical storm force winds later today, including rainfall which may be accompanied by thunderstorms.
Residents should remain vigilant and calm, while continuing to make the necessary preparations for anticipated tropical storm conditions and staying up to date on the latest developments regarding the storm via the official announcements and publications made via government mediums. Residents in areas prone to flooding or near the coast should finalize preparation to protect life and property.
Business Closures, Public Transportation
Due to the approach of Tropical Storm Fiona, with respect to the safety of the public and employees of businesses, the Council of Ministers upon the advice of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has taken the following decision:
1. All Businesses with the exception of essential services must be closed by 2:00 PM
2. The following essential services are allowed to remain open until 5:00 PM:
Bar and Restaurants
Pharmacies (concerns the sale of medicines/medical products)
Stores located on the airport and port
Bakeries selling pastries, milk, and milk products
Hotels, guesthouses and stores and restaurants located on-property are exempted from the above prohibition and are allowed to remain open.
3. Public transportation including car rentals are allowed to operate until 6:00 PM.
The John Larmonie Center, Pondfill, Philipsburg is a designated storm/hurricane shelter for those who need a shelter to ride out the storm. The shelter will open at 4:00 PM under the authority of Emergency Support Function (ESF) 6. ESF-6 will further advise on the need for more shelters as the situation develops. For those making use of the shelter at the John Larmonie Center, please walk with water, snacks, toiletries, and any medication that you use. Displaced and homeless persons can also make use of the shelter.
Public Safety & Security
Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate on Friday evening. The Acting Chief of Police request all persons to be off the road network by 6:00 PM Friday as a precautionary safety measure.
Residents and the business community are advised to continue to pay keen attention to weather reports from Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten in the coming hours in order to be able to take the appropriate action when called upon to do so by the ODM/Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Landfill Closure Update
The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI) announces that due to the approach of Tropical Storm Fiona, the landfills will close at 5:00 PM until further notice.
Government contractors have been requested to clear household garbage bins in all districts and deposit household waste at the landfills prior to this closing time.
The Next Update
There will be another update at 6:00 PM on Friday from the Prime Minister via Facebook Live @SXMGOV and SXMGOV Radio 107.9 FM with respect to the approach of Tropical Storm Fiona.
Prime Minister Jacobs encourages all residents to continue preparations, avoid panic buying, look out for the most vulnerable in your families and communities and lend a helping hand to those in need if possible. “As a country we know that weather conditions can change and therefor are always hopeful and pray for the best, while being prepared for the worst,” Prime Minister Jacobs added.
Hurricane Season Helpful Preparatory Information
The community is urged to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”
Listen to the Government Radio station – SXMGOV 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.
For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com or visit their social media page Facebook.com/sxmweather/