Hurricane Beryl: NEMA in preparedness mode, public urged to remain vigilant

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Basseterre, St. Kitts (July 7, 2018) — The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is currently monitoring Hurricane Beryl and according to the National Disaster Coordinator, Mr Abdias Samuel, the agency is in preparedness mode and is advising the general public to remain vigilant and monitor the system by listening to updates from the Meteorological Office in St. Kitts and also from NEMA. If any residents are on high-alert and are wanting to carefully observe any weather changes, it could also be a useful idea to look into various weather stations to monitor for any disturbances that could be a tell-tale sign of an incoming hurricane.


In a report issued Saturday morning (July 7), Mr Samuel noted that NEMA had begun a number of preparatory activities, including several meetings with the sub-committee chairs, and with the District Managers, and had also engaged senior government officials. The agency, he advised, has been putting out timely updates on the advice of the Meteorological Office, via various news media houses.


“Today (Saturday July 7) we are going to be visiting shelters with the shelter sub-committee chairs, along with Public Works and Social Services Development who are responsible for the community centres,” stated Mr Samuel. “They will be looking at the primary shelters in all eight districts. We have also engaged the island of Nevis and they too are in preparatory mode and monitoring the developments of Hurricane Beryl.”


NEMA has been contacted by regional and international agencies who will deploy a representative to be on standby on island, and according to Mr Samuel, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has already activated its Regional Coordination Plan (RCP).


“So, St. Kitts at the moment stands ready and prepared for any activation necessary on the advice of the Meteorological Office,” commented the National Disaster Coordinator. “We will be consulting with the Minister responsible for the Mitigation Council and based on information that we will receive from the Meteorological Office, in consultation with the Mitigation Council, the Minister will then determine the course of action going forward.”


The latest statement (number 4) from the St. Kitts Meteorological Office as at 8:00 am (Saturday July 7), Beryl was located at 11.7N 50.3W about 893 miles ESE of St. Kitts and Nevis, and has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. Its present movement is west-northwest or 295 degrees at 14 miles per hour and has a minimum central pressure of 995.


The statement further noted that Beryl is expected to maintain a path south of the Leeward Islands. However, given the uncertainty in the forecast track, there is still a possibility that Beryl could track closer to the Leeward Islands. In that case, watches or warnings may be required within the next 18 hours for portions of the Leeward Islands.


“We are asking the citizens and residents to remain vigilant and monitor the system and wait on updates from the Meteorological Office in St. Kitts,” advised Mr Abdias Samuel. “It is important that we pay attention to the Meteorological Office in St. Kitts as they will provide information that is centralised and localised to St. Kitts and Nevis – it is very important.”


The National Disaster Coordinator advised fishermen and boat users to follow these developments closely as deterioration of the seas will begin, according to the advice of Senior Meteorological Officers, sometimes Saturday (July 7) night into Sunday and continue into Monday morning.


“So we are asking the boat users, fishermen, and ferry operators to monitor the system and remain alert to the marine conditions that will develop as a result of the passage of this hurricane in the Caribbean region,” observed Mr Samuel. “The public sector has taken the necessary precaution on the advice of the Meteorological Office and NEMA to secure all government electronic equipment and files, which they have done. We are asking the private sector to do same.”


According to Mr Samuel, NEMA’s office in Lime Kiln will be open on Saturday (July 7), so they can facilitate any queries, concerns by the general public and also as the agency gets into that preparatory mode, if it will need any activation.


“Stay tuned to the media houses and updates from the Meteorological Office and also information provided by NEMA,” advised Mr Samuel. “We have a Facebook page and a website that persons can log into and get information. We are doing our best to provide, and guide the general public, of this current development of weather system.” 

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