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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 23, 2024
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VITEMA Chief Discusses Potential Hurricanes

VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen warns Virgin Islanders about possible hurricanes forming in the next week or so. (Facebook live stream screenshot)

Daryl Jaschen, V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency director, gave the 11 a.m. update on Tropical Depression 13, which is forecast to become a major hurricane by the end of the week and another – also predicted to become a hurricane – just exiting the west coast of Africa.

Current weather sources don’t show the first storm affecting the Virgin Islands, and, in fact, if it tracks as predicted, it will pass more than 200 miles to the North of the territory as a category-five hurricane, he said. The second potential storm is too far away to forecast a path.

However, it is widely known that storms are not predictable and can change course anytime, Jaschen pointed out. Hurricane Hunters will fly into the storm to gauge its intensity, wind direction and speed as it strengthens later this week.

“If the path of the storm makes any changes or threatens the Virgin Islands, updates notices will be issued,” he said during the weekly Government House briefing.

According to the director, a hurricane or storm watch will be issued 48 hours before the weather is expected to impact the territory and a warning will be given 36 hours before tropical-force winds are expected.

Jaschen said VITEMA and the other government agencies met Tuesday morning and are ready to respond to a storm should they be needed. He advised residents to sign up for VITEMA alerts at vitema.vi.gov and complete their personal response plans.

If the storm becomes a “credible threat,” V.I. Public Works, along with fire and emergency medical agencies, will distribute sandbags – probably no earlier than Thursday. Because a new load of sand was received recently, residents will need to bring a shovel and fill the maximum of six bags for their properties.

Sand distribution locations on St. Croix will be Public Works at Anna’s Hope and Concordia and the Cotton Valley and Grove fire stations. On St. Thomas, sand will be available at Public Works at Sub Base and Fortuna, and the Curriculum Center and Omar Brown Fire Stations. On St. John, the Coral Bay Fire Station and Public Works in Susannaberg will supply sand.

“Please take time now to complete the peak hurricane preparations for yourselves, your homes, your businesses and your pets. Check on your neighbors, especially the seniors that live alone,” Jaschen said.

Richard Motta, the Government House communications director, announced during the press briefing that the Office of Gun Violence Prevention’s anti-violence campaign will begin Sept. 7. Each high school will have a banner encouraging students to make smart choices and decisions and abstain from drugs, alcohol, guns and violence.

Motta also announced the V.I. Property and Procurement vehicle and equipment auction on St. Thomas Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. at the central motor pool. People can pre-register for $125 at 340-774-0828 until Sept. 7 or show up Saturday at 9 a.m. and pay $150. There are 48 vehicles, a water truck, generator, forklift and mobile trailer up for the 10 a.m. auction

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