All government offices and schools will be closed today as the territory anticipates the passing of Karen, which has once again upgraded to a tropical storm.
Acting Governor David Archer, Jr made the announcement in a late statement published September 23.
He said along with the decision to close the public sector, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) had also been activated.
“As the territory is under a tropical storm warning, our national disaster management plan requires legally that we make certain decisions to protect the lives of our people. Bearing all this in mind, the Premier and I took the decision to activate the NEOC from 8 pm today, 23 September 2019 and implement a staggered approach to the closure of the public sector,” the Acting Governor stated.
“Based on the information from the 11pm update, we are advising that only workers from essential services and critical government departments including Information Technology, waste management, public works and social care providers will report for work on Tuesday, 24 September 2019,” he further said.
Archer had earlier announced the closing of all public school during the day.
He said that despite the decision to shut down the public service, the current conditions of the storm does not require a territory wide curfew at this time.
Karen regains strength
Meanwhile, Karen after downgrading to a tropical depression has once again regained strength to become a tropical storm.
This is according to the 5am weather update from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) published September 24.
It stated that Karen is expected to increase more in strength over the next two days.
“Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the centre,” the DDM stated.
It further said the centre of Karen is expected to pass near or over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today and then move over the western Atlantic tonight and Wednesday.
“The centre of Tropical Storm Karen was located by the San Juan Doppler radar near latitude 16.8 North, longitude 65.8 West. Karen is moving toward the north near 7 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue today.”
Impact on the BVI
As a result of the current predictions, the British Virgin Islands may experience: possible rainfall amounts of two to four inches with isolated amounts six inches; flooding especially coastal, mudslides and rock slides; winds gusting to tropical force; seas as high as 10 to 12 feet and high surf conditions.
The DDM is asking all small craft vessels to stay in port and drivers to exercise caution while maneuvering in squall like conditions since vision may be impaired.
Person are asked to continue to monitor the weather system as Flash Flood Alert Statements may be issued.
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