The Daily Herald – St. Maarten, stay alert and be prepared, PM warns

National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson, Premier Silveria Jacobs, Weather Service Chief Joseph Isaac and Acting Police Chief Benjamin Gout during a press conference on Tropical Storm Fiona Thursday night.

PHILIPSBURG — According to information shared at 9:00 a.m. today, Friday, residents of St. Maarten are advised not to leave their homes today. Tropical Storm Fiona is expected to pass 75 miles south of St. Maarten with winds of 70 miles or more per hour (mph), with risky gusts of wind, accompanied by heavy rain.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs announced Thursday afternoon that she will address the nation at 9:00 a.m. Friday to share the latest weather information from 5:00 a.m. “Stay tuned to our show which will be updated by the St. Maarten Weather Service (MDS) for last minute preparedness advice as well as the latest information.”
Jacobs advised the nation to stay vigilant and prepare. “Panic doesn’t help; calm is always preferable in these situations. Treat each other with grace. Be safe, Saint Martin.
All schools are closed today. During the Prime Minister’s national address, the public will be informed if and when businesses and government operations will close before the storm arrives as the situation remains fluid and further changes may occur.
Tropical Depression No. 7 upgraded to Tropical Storm Fiona on Wednesday evening and MDS issued a tropical storm warning for the country. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions can be expected within 36 hours. According to MDS Thursday, Fiona is expected to pass 60 miles south of the country on Saturday, but impacts are expected by Friday afternoon.
Fire Chief and Office of Disaster Management (ODM) National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson is calling on residents and the business community to prepare.
Residents and businesses along the nation’s coastal areas or flood-prone environments should take steps to protect properties, as those properties could be inundated by a possible storm surge.
MDS Chief Joseph Isaac said Tropical Storm Fiona is likely to be similar to Tropical Storm Gonzalo, which left a trail of destruction on the island in 2014. There was one fatality at the time – a elderly man who was on his boat in Simpson Bay. The lagoon was killed.
ODM advises boat owners and mariners to implement their hurricane season action plans to protect their vessels and to seek shelter ashore.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to nearly 60 mph with stronger gusts possible. Fiona is moving west at nearly 14 mph and is expected to deteriorate sea conditions and affect the island with high winds, thunderstorms and 3-6 inches of rain with the subsequent risk of flooding and waterfalls. stones.
“The fact that the wind circulation will be to the south of the island and we’ll be in the northern quadrant, that’s a concern that we really have to take seriously,” Isaac said, indicating that the storm covers a distance . of 140 miles. “It is possible that just after the center has passed us, it will slow down. If that happens, the storm could actually intensify.
St. Maarten may have a long weekend, Isaac said. “There could be impacts until Sunday.”
Saint Martin Police KPSM and the Ministry of Public Housing, Land Use Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI are taking action before approaching Tropical Storm Fiona to ensure public safety. Barricades will be placed to prohibit or limit access to floodplains and roads in the event of heavy rains. Areas include Cul-de-Sac Basin, lowlands of Philipsburg and surrounding area, lowlands of Simpson Bay and Mullet Bay.
Police warn the public – pedestrians or motorists – that removing or moving barricades will be a criminal offence. Anyone who takes the risk of accessing these floodplains will do so at their own risk.
“Please stay inside if you don’t have to go outside,” Acting Police Chief Benjamin Gout said, warning not to underestimate the situation as Fiona is a tropical storm. “It’s still dangerous,” Gout said.
Residents and the business community are advised to continue to pay close attention to MDS weather reports in the coming hours so that they can take appropriate action when called upon by the ODM/Operations Center Emergency (EOC).
In the meantime, residents and business owners are reminded to review their preparations for hurricane season and ensure their property is storm/hurricane prepared.
Additional information will be provided by the ODM as Tropical Storm Fiona approaches the Leeward Islands.
The plan is set for the opening of the hurricane shelter at the John Larmonie Center in case of extreme situations. If people need access to the shelter, they are asked to walk with supplies such as water, snacks and/or basic necessities like medicine, etc.
The community is encouraged to learn more about hurricane risk and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting the government website.
www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you can download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide” and your “Hurricane Tracking Chart”.
Listen to government radio station SXMGOV 107.9FM for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.
For official weather information, see the MDS website
www.meteosxm.com or visit its social media page
Facebook.com/sxmweather/