VITEMA on High Alert During Hurricane Season; Advises Public on Preparations

VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen. (VITEMA photo)

The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (Agency) continues to monitor the progress of Hurricane Jerry, which is forecast to travel well north of the territory early Saturday morning, in addition to Disturbance 1 following behind it. Residents are advised to remain vigilant during these weather systems and to continue individual assessments of emergency plans.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Jerry is forecast to travel about 100 miles north of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The system will bring periods of showers and thunderstorms to the local area with intermittent wind gusts. High surf and small craft advisories are in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands and adjacent areas as seas will continue to deteriorate throughout the weekend.

As of this evening, a tropical wave located several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands has developed into Disturbance 1. The wave is expected to head quickly westward at about 20 mph during the next few days and will move across the Windward Islands this weekend.

Some development is possible during that time and a tropical depression could form by early next week. There is still great uncertainty on any potential track, intensity and potential impact associated with Disturbance 1.

“The tropical weather the Atlantic region experienced this week and the weather we’ll face for the rest of hurricane season reminds us of the importance of disaster preparedness in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said VITEMA Director Daryl D. Jaschen.

“My team at VITEMA and our territorial partners take our responsibility to save the lives of Virgin Islanders and protect their property very seriously. While Hurricane Jerry continues to make its way north of our area and Disturbance 1 makes its way westward, we remain actively engaged in strategic planning operations to ensure the territory is ready to respond,” Jaschen said.

VITEMA urges residents to:
· Restock emergency supplies. Include a minimum of a 10-day supply of nonperishable food and water for consumption and hygiene purposes, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash and first aid supplies. Consider the special needs of elderly members and pets.
· Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. During disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls. Ensure cellphones are fully charged.
· Protect your property. Trim trees and secure objects that can become projectiles. Declutter drains and gutters. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
· To ensure your generator works when you need it most, be sure to perform routine maintenance and service checks. Never operate a generator indoors. Always store gasoline at a safe distance away from the generator in a well-ventilated area.

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