Residents of the low-lying island of Anegada may be asked to evacuate if the projected path of Hurricane Jerry hits closer home.
Deputy Premier and Ninth District Representative Vincent Wheatley gave that indication during an interview with BVI News on Thursday.
He said: “Should the hurricane strengthen and approach Anegada, we cannot do a mandatory evacuation, but it would be a suggested evacuation.”
Wheatley said this is necessary bearing in mind the recent destruction of the Bahamian island of Abaco, which is similar in topography to Anegada. Abaco was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian weeks ago.
He explained: “We will use Abaco as an example, and if it is a very strong storm, we will be suggesting to please leave the island.”
In the meantime, Wheatley said shelters would be ready for use by members of the public.
He also said he, along with his teams on the sister island, would be working around the clock to ensure residents are safe during as Jerry — which is now a category two hurricane — passes.
“We are pretty much ready. We have resilience teams who are doing the pre-checks since the day before and there will also be a loudspeaker tomorrow (today, September 20) with more hurricane advisories in the Ninth District,” Wheatley said.
He added: “We encourage persons to buy enough water per household and make sure that they are as secure as they can be and prepare for the worse.”
He said the main concern for his district would have been the dialysis patients who must get regular treatment for their condition. However, Wheatley said they were able to change their dialysis appointments to Thursday instead of Friday in light of the circumstances.
Two years ago, on September 5, only half of the residents left the island even after being told to leave in light of the category-five hurricane, Irma.
Meanwhile, in its latest weather advisory, the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) said the category-two strength Jerry is projected to pass north of the territory on Saturday. However, a high surf warning has already been issued for the BVI.
Jerry is likely to dump between four to six inches of rainfall on Anegada while the rest of the islands will see roughly one to three inches of rain.
“At 5 am, the centre of Hurricane Jerry was located near latitude 18.4 North, longitude 58.7 West. Jerry is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph. A west-northwest to northwest motion at a decreasing forward speed is expected over the next few days.”
As a category two hurricane, Jerry’s Maximum sustained winds remain near 105 mph with higher gusts.
“A gradual weakening trend is forecast to begin later today, but Jerry is expected to remain a hurricane during the next few days,” the DDM said.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the centre, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles.
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