St Lucia back to normal after scare from Tropical Storm Kirk
CASTRIES – St Lucia was returning to normal on Friday after Tropical Storm Kirk drenched the island with heavy rains and winds, causing electricity blackouts in some areas as a result of trees falling on power lines.
The director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), Velda Joseph, in a statement, said that the organisation had been in contact with the St Lucia Meteorological Services and other relevant parties and that the tropical storm warning for the island had been lifted.
“In that regard normal operations would resume at 1 p.m. (local time) today. That applies to the private sector as well as the public sector,” she said. The authorities had already indicated that schools would remain closed until Monday.
The NEMO statement gave no details of any damage during the passage of the storm, but the St Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCLEC) in a statement said that while the electricity system “held up fairly well . . . several areas were without power due to trees or branches falling on electricity lines, fallen poles, and a few areas where lines dropped due To the high winds and minor slides”.
It said that power restoration work has begun and some of the areas that were without power on Thursday night have been restored.
“There are still several areas without power, as well as some areas with fallen poles and lines on the ground. LUCELEC advises the public to exercise an abundance of caution and stay away from any downed lines.”
LUCELEC said that “steady progress is being made with power restoration work” and that the expectation is that power should be restored to the majority of the system by the end of the day”.
The telecommunication companies said their system “came through” the storm and that 64 per cent of mobile cell sites were fully operational.
“Those cell sites that are temporarily out of service will be restored once commercial power is reinstated,” Flow said in a statement.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Kirk was now located 185 miles west south west of the French island of Martinique and that the tropical storm watches and warnings for several Caribbean islands had been discontinued.
It said that the storm has sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (mph) and that there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
“Kirk is moving towards the west-northwest near 13 mph and this motion is expected to continue through Sunday. On the forecast track, the centre of Kirk or its remnants will move across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea over the next day or two,” the NHC said, adding that Kirk is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression tonight, and then degenerate into a trough of low pressure on Saturday.
Earlier, St Lucia was hit by a magnitude 5.6 earthquake but there were no reports of injuries or damages associated with the tremor. (CMC)