The National Hurricane Center has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the U.S. Virgin Islands for Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine (formerly Invest 92-L), forecast to bring tropical storm conditions to the territory starting tomorrow. The American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands is preparing to respond and urges residents in the path of this storm to get ready now.
Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine is expected to produce heavy rains and potentially life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides. In the territory, the Red Cross is coordinating closely with government partners to support the urgent needs of people affected by the storm.
Here are safety steps that residents can take for personal readiness:
Know the difference between a watch and a warning. A Watch means a hurricane, tropical storm or flooding is possible. A Warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours.
Tune into your local radio, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio or news channels for the latest updates. Follow guidance from local officials.
Check your emergency kit and replace any missing items, as well as adding items to protect against COVID-19 like disinfectant supplies (hand sanitizer, with 60 percent alcohol, and cleaning wipes) and cloth face coverings for everyone in your household who can wear one safely.
If you can’t shelter in place, have a plan for where you’ll go, and know what sheltering resources may be available through emergency apps or messaging from local emergency management officials.
Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare a pet emergency kit with leashes or carriers, food, water, bowls, cat litter and box and photos of you with your pet in case you are separated.
Get your home ready. Cover windows with storm shutters or plywood. Store outside items, such as lawn furniture and trash cans to prevent them from being moved by high winds.
Stay indoors. Avoid beaches, riverbanks and floodwaters. Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding. Don’t walk, swim or drive through floodwaters. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown.
Use flashlights in the dark if the power goes out. Avoid using candles.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for real-time weather alerts, open shelters and expert advice on emergency situations. The Emergency App includes an “I’m Safe” feature that helps people check on loved ones. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps.
The Red Cross has guidance available in multiple languages on getting prepared while still protecting yourself from COVID-19. Visit redcross.org/hurricane for full hurricane safety information.
For local updates, follow Red Cross USVI on Facebook @RedCrossUSVI. Local Red Cross offices can be reached at 340-778-5104 for St. Croix or 340-774-0375 for St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island District.