EOC meets to discuss Hurricane Bill; Vigilance requested along coastal areas; Small Craft and High Surf Advisories in Effect; Normal School and Business Operations on Thursday;
Governor Franklyn Richards chaired an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting on Wednesday afternoon to review national preparations with respect to the passing of Hurricane Bill.
Bill is forecasted to pass well north of the island during the course of Wednesday night and into Thursday.
The meeting included core members of the EOC who determined that since Hurricane Bill does not pose a direct threat to the island, Thursday, August 20 will be a normal school and business day.
The Netherlands Antilles & Aruba Weather Service has issued two advisories namely a, small craft advisory and a high surf warning, both to be in effect until further notice.
Weather conditions expected from Bill in addition to the above are, the development of more clouds and scattered shower activity and possible thunderstorms; sea conditions to gradually become rough along the coasts up to 10 to 12 feet.
Residents living along coastal areas should be vigilant as hazardous conditions are possible along North and East facing shores due to large breaking waves. Areas that may be subjected to high seas are Oyster Pond, Guana Bay, Point Blanche, Beacon Hill/Airport area, Simpson Bay area, and the Philipsburg/Great Bay Beach Promenade. Coastal roads may become impassable due to the sea washing sand on the road, motorists should therefore exercise caution.
The electricity production company GEBE has taken precautions and have plans in place to make sure that electricity production continues uninhibited during the high seas that are expected from the passing of Bill.
Conditions won’t be feasible for recreational swimming and persons are urged to stay onshore to avoid personal injury or death. Some coastal flooding is also possible according to the Antillean & Aruban Weather Service and owners of coastal facilities should protect their possessions against possible destructive waves.
Should coastal roadways become impassable, the Public Works Department will have crews available to re-open the aforementioned roads and any other that would be partially blocked or made impassable.
Low lying areas could be exposed to flash flooding due to expected locally heavy showers. Expected rainfall is around 10mm to 25mm mainly from Bills feeder bands.
Residents should make sure that their garbage containers are secure so that they don’t fall over and garbage is washed into gutters and culverts thereby clogging up the drainage system and waterways.
Bill is now moving North West according to the National Hurricane Center which would continue to keep it well away from the island as it continues on that forecasted direction at 20 miles per hour.
Hurricane Bill at 5.00pm on Wednesday had wind speeds of 135 miles per hour making it a Category 4 hurricane. Bill is the first major hurricane for the 2009 hurricane season.
"Remember ‘It Only Takes One.’ That is the theme of the Office of Disaster Management & Preparedness, and all residents should take heed and make sure that they are prepared this hurricane season. Tropical Storm Ana and Hurricane Bill are indicators that you should have everything in place to protect life and property. If you still have not done so already for the season, please make the effort to protect your property and family as it only takes one," Governor Richards Chairman of the EOC told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Wednesday.
The core members present at the EOC meeting on Wednesday were: Public Works Department, Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management & Preparedness, Netherlands Antilles & Aruba Weather Service, Government Information Service (GIS), and Cabinet of the Governor.