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Hurricane Maria prompts shutdown in Dominica, St Lucia


Hurricane Maria prompts shutdown in Dominica, St Lucia

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ROSEAU – The Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit on Sunday ordered the closure of all schools, business and government offices as Hurricane Maria continues on path towards the island.

“Shelter managers have been advised to open all shelters and we are deploying to all respective shelters, where there is a need, cots and mattresses,” said Skerrit during a press conference late Sunday.

According to Skerrit, all personnel providing essential services were called out early Sunday.

“Fire, ambulance services, police and others have been called out. We should not take this storm likely. I know that there is an exhaustion with all these storms. But we have to treat every single storm with the same level of preparedness.”

The Prime Minister urged persons in flood-prone areas to following evacuation orders, if they are issued.

Meanwhile in St Lucia, Deputy Prime Minister Lenard Montoute also ordered all schools, businesses and government offices closed on Monday.

“In accordance with the guidelines for a national systematic shutdown and having consulted NEMO, the Ministry of Education and the St Lucia Chamber of Commerce, I have ordered that all schools, businesses and government offices be closed on Monday, September 18, 2017 and remain closed until the all clear is given.”

On Sunday, the Miami based National Hurricane Centre issued a Hurricane warning for the islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts Nevis, and Montserrat.

While a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda Saba and St Eustatius and St Lucia

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the US and British Virgin Islands Saba and St Eustatius, St Maarten, St Martin and St Barthelemy and Anguilla while Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In its advisory issued at 5 p.m. (local time), the National Hurricane Centre said Hurricane Maria was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft near latitude 13.8 North, longitude 57.5 West. Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h), and this motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday.

On the forecast track, the centre of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands Monday night and then over the extreme north-eastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday.

Reconnaissance data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria could be near major hurricane intensity when it moves across the Leeward Islands Monday night.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the centre, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km). 

Hurricane conditions are first expected within portions of the Leeward Islands by late Monday with tropical storm conditions beginning earlier in the day. (CMC)