The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins today, and the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority encourages its employees and customers to act now and be prepared for any potential storm activity which may threaten the territory over the next six months.
“We have already seen two named storm systems even before the official start of the season, so clearly the hurricane season is off to an early start,” said Executive Director / CEO Lawrence J. Kupfer. This year, preparations for the hurricane season are made more challenging with the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Planning for the hurricane season may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Today, I reassure our community that WAPA is prepared and ready to respond to any windstorm event that may adversely affect our power production plants, electric grids or water production and distribution systems. Hurricane season preparation is a year-round effort for WAPA,” he said.
Each year since the 2017 hurricanes, WAPA takes the lessons learned and finetunes its approach to emergency storm response, safety, overall preparedness and recovery response.
“The internal measures we have implemented assure better coordination with local and federal partners prior to and after a storm event. Additionally, we have strengthened financial accountability while continuing to expand the means by which WAPA updates the public through mainstream media and social media platforms.”
Before a Storm: Stay aware and check the weather forecast before heading outdoors. Check the emergency kit, unplug major appliances, and charge cell phones in case of loss of power.
During a Storm: Take shelter inside a sturdy building away from windows and doors. Avoid contact with conductors of electricity such as appliances, metal objects and water.
After a Storm: Never touch any downed or low-hanging wires, including telephone or TV wires as they might be touching a power line. Never pull tree limbs off power lines or enter areas with debris or downed trees as downed power lines may be buried in wreckage. Do not cut downed utility poles or lines.
When Severe Weather Strikes, Count on WAPA To Keep You Updated
WAPA Alerts: Subscribe to the free WAPA ALERTS service to receive personalized notifications and updates via text message and email. Join the more than 6,000 persons who benefit from WAPA Alerts. Sign up at www.viwapa.vi and Stay Connected.
Outage Map: On the WAPA website, www.viwapa.vi, individuals can view an outage map that provides near real-time information, allowing them to see where electrical service interruptions are occurring across the territory.
WAPA website: Before, during and after storm events, WAPA will keep the public updated. Visit www.viwapa.vi.
WAPA Message Six: Frequent updates are available at 774-3552 or 773-2250, select option 6
Facebook: Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority
Monitor Virgin Islands media outlets: radio and TV stations, on-line and printed newspaper publications
“WAPA encourages our community members to get an early start, make your preparations now, and be ready should a storm system threaten our islands,” Kupfer said.