Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr. said Thursday updates from national and regional experts show “more good news,” with Hurricane Jerry expected to have minimal to no impact on the territory as it passes by late Friday and into Saturday.
Bryan said at its closest point, the storm is expected to pass about 154 miles east of St. John before continuing toward Puerto Rico and “veering out into the Atlantic” without significantly impacting land. The territory could experience one to two inches of rain and slight winds; most of the effects would be felt on St. John, he said.
Describing Jerry as a more “obedient storm” than Hurricane Dorian, Bryan said meteorologists say it is tracking according to predictions. At most, there will be choppy seas and a few scattered showers, he added. While Jerry did show signs of strengthening before the end of Thursday’s press conference, with tropical storm force winds extending 80 miles out from the center, predictions on impact had not changed and Bryan said that all government offices and public schools will be open Friday. There is also no intention to open shelters or distribute sandbags unless conditions change, he said.
“However, we remain diligent and we urge you to remain diligent while watching this storm and making sure it continues along its path,” Bryan added, saying there is a potential disturbance behind Jerry that could require additional monitoring throughout the weekend.
Pressed by reporters to relay any contingency plans the government has in place should Jerry shift, Bryan said the government is still preparing as though there will be an impact.
“If tonight that storm takes a shift we will quickly activate what we need to do and we would still have all of Friday to take action,” said Bryan, who spoke about two additional meetings scheduled for Thursday afternoon with emergency call center operators, and other responders.
Four shelters – one on each of the islands – could open if necessary, constant communication with federal partners is ongoing and Bryan added that he has opened conversations with the National Weather Service to get the territory its own meteorologist, which could better help officials prepare during hurricane season.