ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Acting Premier, Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), stated that the Virgin Islands (VI) will be prepared for the peak of the 2018 hurricane season which is said to be above average, while adding that Cabinet is “comfortable” based on the information they have received from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).
He was at the time speaking to media houses during a joint press conference with Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert on May 16, 2018, at the Government House.
He said, “I think Cabinet is comfortable. Everything won’t be in place for June but most of the issues will definitely be in place as time evolve and certainly by the time of the peak of the hurricane season to ensure that we can face any storm.”
Hon Pickering noted that the peak of the hurricane season is about mid-august to mid-October and he reiterated that government is comfortable that they will be ready for the hurricane season. “We are comfortable with the information that has been fed to us via DDM.”
The acting premier mentioned that DDM provides bi-monthly updates to the government about the progress of preparations for the upcoming season.
“Hurricane preparedness is top priority”- Augustus J. U. Japsert
Meanwhile, Governor Jaspert added that currently hurricane preparedness is of paramount importance for local authorities, while admitting that things are not “perfect” but emphasised that local authorities have “a plan, vision and money” to do what is necessary to get the territory ready for the hurricane season.
He said, “Things are not in the perfect condition and that is why recovery is such a priority to make sure we get on with that. We have the plan. We have the vision. We have the structure and the money.”
He continued, “We’ve also agreed to plan extra funding from the Cabinet to repair shelters across the territory and to get communication systems in place.”
Governor Jaspert further mentioned that DDM will be announcing a list of the emergency shelters at the beginning of the hurricane season, while urging the public to play their part in preparing for the upcoming season.
The Governor assured that the UK is still willing to support the recovery of the Virgin Islands.
The Colorado State University (CSU) Tropical Meteorology Project (TMP) released their forecast on April 5, 2018, signaling that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will be slightly above average with 14 named storms and seven (7) hurricanes; three (3) of which will be major hurricanes (Category 3-4-5). The CSU TMP indicated that there is 52 percent chance of at least one major (Category 3-4-5) tracking into the Caribbean.