GREAT BAY — On Thursday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Egbert Doran chaired the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting at the Government Administrative Building that was called to assess the approaching weather system, Tropical Depression #13 and the status of national preparations.
The EOC meeting brought together several of the 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs).
The country remains under a Tropical Storm Watch. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the watch area within 48-hours.
The Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management (ODM) Fire Chief/National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson, is calling on the community to continue to closely monitor the progress of the depression and to prepare for the possibility of tropical storm conditions.
Residents in areas prone to flooding or near the coast should finalize preparations to protect life and property.
Contractors and builders on Friday morning should review construction sites and put away any loose items that could blow away under tropical storm conditions.
The trenches are all-clear after a preliminary check by the Ministry of VROMI; and the pond levels are at a good level to accommodate any excess rainfall that the depression should bring.
One hurricane shelter will be made ready as a precautionary measure in the event that it is needed. This is the John Larmonie Center on the Pondfill in Philipsburg.
Persons who don’t feel completely safe at home should stay by friends or family and fully observing the COVID-19 preventative measures.
As of 5:00 pm Thursday afternoon, Tropical Depression #13 was located approximately 620 miles east-southeast of the country.
The forecast track has the center of the depression passing about 60 miles north of the country late Friday into
Saturday, according to the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS).
The MDS says that some gradual strengthening is forecast and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm on Friday.
The remaining storm names for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season are: Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, René, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.
The potential hazards for the country according to MDS are:
RAINFALL: The tropical depression could produce about 1 to 3 inches of rainfall through Sunday over the local area. This rainfall could result in flooding in low-lying areas and rockfalls. Some of this rainfall may be heavy at times and may be accompanied by thunderstorms.
WIND: Windy conditions are expected over the local area increasing to tropical storm force gusts by late Friday.
SEAS: Rough seas can be expected by Saturday with swells up to 10 feet. A small craft advisory will be issued on Friday morning.
The general public should continue to monitor updates from the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten and ODM.
For those who would like to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike, you can visit the Government website:
www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to download your ‘Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and ‘Hurricane Tracking Chart’.
In addition, you can also download the ‘Disasterprep Sint Maarten’ app for Android and Apple phones by going to the Google and Apple stores.
ODM reminds residents and business owners to remain vigilant for the hurricane season and to have plans in place for quick action when the need arises – storm ready!
Listen to the Government Radio station – 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 St. Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com
Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Are You Ready? Be prepared for this hurricane season!