Gov. Albert Bryan lifted the curfew for St. Croix and said the St. Thomas-St. John curfew would be lifted at 8 a.m., during a post-storm press briefing 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Bryan said he lasted out the storm on St. Croix and he and emergency workers performed a “cursory windshield inspection of the roads from Christiansted to Frederiksted” Wednesday afternoon.
“By now, crews on St. Croix have cleaned the roads from Christiansted to Frederiksted.”
Damage was less severe on St. Croix than St. Thomas.
Curfew on St. Thomas and St. John will be lifted at 8 a.m.
“On St. Thomas there is considerable debris clogging the roads off of the main arteries,” Bryan said. He said he met with Public Works Commissioner Nelson Petty, who reported that crews are working on clearing them.
“On St. John we are still doing an assessment to determine the extent of the damage but it appears to be similar to St. Thomas or less,” he said.
Power was fully restored on St. Croix and six out of nine feeders were restored on St. Thomas as of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. But power remained out on St. John and the Water and Power Authority is working on an assessment to see how long it will take to fully restore it.
Residents of St. John reported power went out, returned briefly in the afternoon, then went out again.
On Thursday, government employees are to report to work as normal on St. Croix and at 10 a.m. on St. Thomas and St. John, Bryan said.
He said he will be taking the first flight to St. Thomas in the morning and then will head to St. John to assess the situation.
Airports will reopen at 7 a.m. Thursday. Delta Airlines is sending two flights to St. Thomas to accommodate passengers who could not get out on Wednesday.
All seaports remain closed and the territory is awaiting the U.S. Coast Guard to make an assessment. Bryan said he expects they will open by noon on Thursday, barring unforeseen eventualities.
There are no reports yet of injuries or major damage. The territory’s two hospitals and the prison on St. Croix appear to have come through without further damage.
V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency Director Col. Daryl Jaschen reported that one person, an elderly woman, passed away on St. John “apparently of natural causes but it is being investigated.”
Asked whether any place was hit harder than others, Bryan said it appeared to be pretty even, with damage mostly limited to downed trees and limbs, debris in the roads and a few utility poles down. He said there was a report of one temporary roof being blown away but no reports of any permanent structures receiving serious damage.
Bryan said the V.I. government made an emergency declaration around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning and initiated a federal emergency declaration.
“We have been in contact with the White House, they have forwarded their request to the president, they have not received word back yet,” Bryan said, adding “we just want to make sure we have all the support that we can.”
“One thing we have learned if nothing else is storms are unpredictable. With this storm we watched the eye-wall form and it turn into a hurricane right as it was off St. Thomas,” Bryan said.
“No one really expected the storm to jump up like that. … It is a lesson to all of us that no matter what the models say, we have to be uber prepared,” he said.