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MESSAGE: Irma strengthens to a category 4 hurricane as it heads toward the Leeward Islands

THE SITUATION:

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida, as at 5:00pm AST (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.7 North, longitude 54.4 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 13 mph (20 km/h) and this general motion is expected to continue into Tuesday, followed by a turn toward the west-northwestward late Tuesday September 05, 2017. On the forecast track, the center of Irma will move near or over portions of the northern Leeward Islands Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km). The latest minimum central pressure reported by reconnaissance aircraft is 944 mb (27.88 inches).

 

SUMMARY OF WARNINGS AND WATCHES IN EFFECT:

Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Anguilla
  • Montserrat
  • St. Kitts and Nevis

Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • British Virgin Islands

Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • Dominica

Impact Analysis by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH)

The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) provided CDEMA with an impact analysis based on the forecast track of Hurricane Irma at 11:30am, Monday September 4, 2017.Hurricane Irma forecast track, September 4, 2017 - NHC

FLOOD/LANDSLIDE: Satellite-based rainfall estimates show 24 hr rainfall in excess of 200 mm. Rainfall and reflectivity projections suggest intense rainfall can be expected with the passage of IRMA. Such rainfall amounts will lead to flash flooding, dangerous river conditions, debris flows and landslides.

WIND: Winds likely to approach Hurricane force with stronger gusts in areas of thunderstorms later Tuesday into Wednesday. Hurricane force winds are very dangerous and will produce damages and life threatening conditions. Interests should continue to monitor the track closely.

WAVES: Significant wave heights likely to exceed 10 metres mainly in the Northern Leeward Islands. Storm surge, rough seas and damaging waves expected leading to flooding and damages along coastlines and coastal infrastructure especially in the north of the northern Leeward Islands. Areas to the south could experience rough sea conditions. Near shore and marine operators should exercise extreme caution.

In summary: The steering current has pushed the storm south as expected but there should be a northward turn within the next 24 to 36 hours. This could have a major impact on the Leeward Islands. The Northern Leewards should prepare for Hurricane force conditions which will be accompanied by very strong winds, high storm surge and heavy rainfall.

Regional Readiness Actions – CDEMA Coordinating Unit

The Regional Coordination Plan was activated at 7:00pm, Sunday September 03, 2017 and the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) is partially activated as at 3:00pm Monday September 04, 2017. The regional response teams including the CARICOM Disaster and Assessment Coordination (CDAC) Team, the CARICOM Operations Support Team (COST) and the Regional Security System has placed the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) on stand-by.

The CDEMA CU is preparing the Operational Plan with potential scenarios and Pre-Impact Analysis of vulnerable areas in the threatened States.

CDEMA is equipped to offer support through the mobilization and deployment surge capacity in specialized technical areas to its Participating States and stands ready to respond as required.

Eastern Caribbean Development Partner Group (ECDPGDM) Meeting

A meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Development Partner Group – Disaster Management (ECDPG-DM) was convened today, Monday September 4, 2017 at 11:00am at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit. The meeting was chaired by CDEMA’s Programme Manager for Preparedness and Response. About thirty five (35) participants from regional and international donor, humanitarian and development agencies were in attendance. CDEMA will convene another meeting by tomorrow, Tuesday September 5, 2017 at 1:00pm (1300 hours). The following updates were provided at the ECDPG-DM meeting.

National Updates – CDEMA’s Participating States

Anguilla – The Department of Disaster Management (DDM)

  • Indicated that a preparedness meeting with the stakeholders of the National System will be convened at 3:00pm (15:00 hrs) today, September 04, 2017
  • Confirmed that a Hurricane Warning has been issued for the territory with an advisory asking mariners to stay in port and seek safe anchorage
  • Schools were closed and government offices will be closed to the public from 2:00pm (14:00 hrs) today, Monday 04, September 2017
  • Three shelters will be opened to the public from 4:00pm tomorrow (September 5) – Bethel Methodist Church Hall, Ebeneezer Methodist Church Hall and Mount Fortune Seventh Day Adventist Church

Montserrat – Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA)

  • Preparedness activities heightened over the weekend
  • National Disaster Management Advisory Committee chaired by the Premier met today September 04, 2017 to discuss plans
  • Schools were closed as of Monday September 04, 2017
  • Most government agencies have already sent personnel home as at Monday September 04, 2017

Institutional Updates

CANTO

  • Has been in contact with the Bahamas Telephone Company (BTC) in Bahamas and they are in preparedness mode
  • Will convene a meeting later today, September 04, 2017 to ascertain the other members’ levels of preparedness

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

  • Has activated their Disaster Management Plans
  • They are monitoring the system

Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

  • Confirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to the provision of 2 airport specialists for RNAT deployment if required
  • It was noted that there was a travel advisory on Canada’s website advising of the Hurricane

Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID OFDA)

  • Have pre-deployed personnel in countries
  • A Disaster Risk Management Specialist (DRMS) is on location in St Kitts at NEMA along with three surge consultants
  • A DRMS is covering Antigua and Barbuda along with two local surge consultants
  • Confirmed communication with the National Disaster Coordinators in Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts/Nevis
  • Another regional officer should be in Barbados this afternoon along with a communications officer out of Costa Rica

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

  • Advised that there are 3 staff members stationed in Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and in St Kitts/Nevis
  • The Washington office has been assisting and supporting with monitoring and providing updates
  • Have been in contact with the Health Disaster Coordinators in the threatened states
  • Teams are on stand-by and the areas of focus include Water and Sanitation, Damage Assessment and Information Management

United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)

  • Noted that supplies have been pre-positioned in Barbados and Antigua
  • Have alerted their colleagues in Guyana and Panama
  • A team is on stand-by for rapid assessment & WASH

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)

  • The UNDAC system is on stand-by

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

  • Contact has been made with the Sub-Regional Office in Jamaica which has responsibility for the countries which are under threat.
  • The following can be made available: reproductive health kits, dignity and hygiene kits; technical guidance on gender based violence

United Kingdom (DFID)

  • Ship positioned in the region to render assistance as necessary
  • Deploying three (3) persons from the London CHASE (Conflict Humanitarian and Security Department) to assist with response if needed

Sub Regional Actions:

  • The Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados Sub Regional Focal Points are closely monitoring and on standby to support where necessary.

The CDEMA CU will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Irma and provide updates as necessary.

CONTACT DETAILS: The CDEMA CU 24-hour contact number 1(246) 434-4880

The public is advised to…

  • Monitor radio or television and other official sources of information for progress reports
  • Update your personal family preparedness plan and action items according to that plan
  • The website www.weready.org provides additional information
 

Vacancies

CDEMA Annual Reports