Region braces for Isaac
MIAMI –A better organised Tropical Storm Isaac was closing in on the Lesser Antilles today with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (mph).
Some Caribbean countries have issued warnings for their residents and according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC), the storm, located near latitude 15.5 north, longitude 57.3 west, is moving towards the west near 18 mph.
The storm is situated 280 miles east of Guadeloupe.
“This general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days,” NHC said, adding “the center of Isaac should move through the Leeward Islands this evening and mover over the northeastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday”.
NHC warned that the storm will strengthen during the next 48 hours and “could become a hurricane by Thursday”.
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he was appealing to employers to allow their workers to remain home to ride the storm out.
“We have seen situations in the past when we have delayed taking this decision and people have been stuck in places,“ he said on the state-owned DBS radio Wednesday.
Skerrit said he expects “landslides and swollen rivers” as a result of the heavy rains associated with Tropical Storm Isaac, adding “so instead of bringing people out to work, it is better for them to stay home”.
However he warned that they should not be home watching television but must be making adequate preparations to ride out the storm.
In Antigua and Barbuda, where shelters were opened since yesterday evening, disaster officials were warning residents to take all precautions.
“We are appealing to residents living in low lying areas to ire on the side of caution. Seek higher grounds with relatives, friends, or within the public shelters,” said the director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), Philmore Mullin.
The NHC said that tropical storm warnings are in effect for Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe and the surrounding islands of St. Martin, St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustace, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin islands, the south coast of the Dominican Republic including the southern border of the Haitian-Dominican Republic border.
NHC said tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the Leeward Islands later today and rainfall accumulations of four to eight inches are possible over the Northern Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands. (CMC)