ODM: Country under a Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning; TS Gonzalo continues to Strengthen; Residents urged to complete storm preparations before nightfall

The Department ofDisaster Management (ODM) officially announces that the country is under a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning.


A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere in the warning area in this case within 24 hours.


Weather conditions are forecasted to further deteriorate this afternoon as Tropical Storm Gonzalo approaches our area. Residents should rush to protect property.


Motorists are advised to avoid using the public road network as of 4.00PM Monday.  This is for your own safety; this is not a curfew but a safety advisory.


Tropical Storm Gonzalo at 11.00AM was located 10 miles north west of Antigua.  The storm has also strengthened with 65 mile per hour winds and higher gusts, and further strengthening is forecasted during the next 48 hours and could become a hurricane Monday night.


Tropical storm conditions are expected according to the MDS to reach Leeward Islands/Sint Maarten Monday afternoon and evening; expected rainfall between four to eight inches with isolate maximum totals of 12 inches.


A heavy rainfall advisory and a flood warning are in effect for the country as well as a rough sea advisory.


Under a Tropical Storm Warning; the warning means that there could be sustained wind speeds of between 39 and 73 miles per hour within 24 to 36 hours or less.  Any preparedness measures should be completed as soon as possible under such a warning.


Contractors should have secured construction and building sites.


For weather updates visit the site of MDS at:www.meteosxm.com


ODM will continue to monitor the progress of the storm.  Additional updates will be provided.