Daryl Jaschen, director of the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency, is encouraging the public to take time now to make sure they are ready for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. The season is heading into its peak, from August to October, when the frequency of storms is expected to increase.
“Now is the time to make sure that you have supplies, such as water and dried goods, to last at least 10 days, and that you and your family have a plan for communicating and know what to do if a storm or hurricane impacts the territory,” Jaschen said. “Consider the needs of children, the elderly and pets in the home when you plan. Additionally, everyone should also prepare their homes and store any loose items that could become a projectile in a storm.”
“In this COVID environment, it is also imperative that you avoid waiting until the last minute to rush to the store to get what you need,” Jaschen said. “Preparing now means that you are being proactive in keeping your family safe, and knowing what to do means that there will be much less stress when a storm is headed our way.”
The Territorial Emergency Management Agency continues to coordinate with all government agencies, its federal partners and non-government organizations to ensure the territory is prepared to respond in the event of a storm. This coordination effort includes the distribution of sandbags, readying shelters, shoring up communications capabilities and much more.
A key member of this partnership is the V.I. Department of Human Services. Department of Human Services Commissioner Kimberley Causey-Gomez stated that DHS has been working diligently with all partner agencies to ensure the U.S. Virgin Islands is responsive and a shelter and feeding plan is in place during this 2020 hurricane season.”
“We are asking that everyone be prepared to shelter in place, as a primary measure, or with family and friends who have a secure place to weather the storm,” Causey-Gomez said. “Due to social distancing measures related to COVID-19, we will need to keep the number of people in congregate shelters to a minimum with extensive screening measures.”
VITEMA Continues to Monitor Tropical Storm Gonzalo
VITEMA is keeping a watchful eye on the Atlantic Basin. Today, Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed near Latitude 9.9 North, Longitude 45.0 West.
According to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. public advisory, Tropical Storm Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 14 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds near 50 miles per hour with higher gusts. Gonzalo is a small tropical cyclone, as tropical-storm-force winds extend outward only up to 25 miles from the center.
A general westward motion at a faster forward speed is expected during the next few days.
Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Gonzalo is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday.
The system is about 1,110 miles east of the southern Windward Islands. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
Based on the current forecast track, the system is projected to pass well south of the Virgin Islands this weekend.
For more information on how to prepare, visit www.VITEMA.vi.gov or follow VITEMA at www.Facebook.com/VITEMA. For real-time information on weather events impacting the USVI and updates from local authorities, visit www.VITEMA.vi.gov to register with Alert VI.