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PM’S STATEMENT: Fellow Saint Lucians, Fellow Citizens! It would appear that our worst fears have materialized.
At 11.00 p.m. last night, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) upgraded the approaching weather system to a tropical storm. Named Bertha, this tropical storm formed very quickly and has taken aim at Barbados, Saint Lucia and Dominica. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for these islands.
At 8.00a.m. this morning, the storm was located at 13.6N, 57.9W and travelling towards us at 20 mph.
Tropical Storm Bertha is likely to begin to affect us sometime this afternoon.
This storm must not be taken lightly. It packs winds of 45 mph, so could bring moderate to heavy rain, lightning and thunderstorms. It could also cause considerable damage.
Mercifully, today is a national holiday and most citizens should be at home. Since the effects of the storm will be felt during the day, some will be tempted to go outdoors. This should be avoided. I wish to urge all citizens to remain indoors until the storm has passed and the “all-clear” has been given. Small craft should remain in port and safely moored. Fishing boats and accompanying equipment should be secured. As the Met Office has always reminded us, “Residents in areas prone to flooding and landslides should exercise extreme caution and take all necessary precautions.” All major events should be cancelled.
The center of the storm is likely to pass just to the north of us, so the entire island is expected to be affected.
Disaster Preparedness Committees have been activated and will be on full alert in the event that they need to spring into action after the passage of the system. The Ministry of Infrastructure has already begun to position equipment in the vulnerable areas in the event that roads, drains and fallen trees have to be cleared.
We have had our fair share of adverse weather systems in the past few years, from Hurricane Tomas to the Christmas Eve Trough on December 24, last year. We have survived. We are better fortified in these matters but the unexpected always occur. So, be prepared.
We have worked together and made use of the considerable experience that we have acquired on each and every occasion that disaster has struck. Once again, we must summon the will to work together for the good of us all.
I pray that each and every one of you will remain safe and sound.
Do have a blessed day!
Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony