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MESSAGE: Potentially Catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane Nearing the Northern Leeward Islands while Tropical Storm Jose forms over the open Atlantic

THE SITUATION:

The latest advisory issued by the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami, Florida at 5:00 PM AST (2100 UTC), reports that Irma remains an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts. The distinct eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 17.1 North, longitude 59.8 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 15 mph (24 km/h).

A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast to begin tonight and continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma will move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday, move near or over portions of the northern Virgin Islands Wednesday, and pass near or just north of Puerto Rico late Wednesday and Wednesday night. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 926 mb (27.35 inches).Hurricane Irma forecast track, September 5, 2017 - NHC

 

10TH TROPICAL STORM OF THE SEASON FORMS OVER THE OPEN ATLANTIC

Tropical Storm Jose, the 10th named storm of the season formed over the Atlantic on Tuesday September 05, 2017. At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Jose was located near latitude 12.5 North, longitude 40.6 West. Jose is moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h) and a movement toward the west or west-northwest at a slightly faster rate of forward speed is expected during the next two days. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Jose could become a hurricane by Thursday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1006 mb (29.71 inches). TS Jose is not a threat to land at the moment.

SUMMARY OF WARNINGS AND WATCHES IN EFFECT – HURRICANE IRMA:

Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Anguilla
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Montserrat
  • St. Kitts and Nevis

Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • Haiti from the Northern Border
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Southeastern Bahamas

Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Dominica

Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • Haiti from the south of Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-Au-Prince

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 1:30pm, Tuesday September 5, 2017.

FLOOD/LANDSLIDE: Satellite-based rainfall estimates show 24 hr rainfall in excess of 300 mm. Rainfall amounts likely to be enhanced due to local topographic conditions. Intense rainfall activity will lead to flash flooding, dangerous river conditions, landslides and debris flows. Flooding is likely to be significantly enhanced within coastal bays due to expected runoff, wave run up, storm surge and tides.TS Jose forecast track, September 5, 2017 - NHC

WIND: Winds large at Hurricane force with extremely strong gusts in areas of thunderstorms. Hurricane force winds are very dangerous especially in elevated areas and will produce significant damages to infrastructure and life threatening conditions.

WAVES: Significant wave heights likely to exceed 10 metres mainly in the Northern Leeward Islands. Storm surge in excess of 4 m, rough seas and damaging waves are imminent, leading to inundation and damages along coastlines and to coastal infrastructure especially in the northern Leeward Islands. Areas to the south could experience rough sea conditions.

In summary: Irma, now a Category five (5) Hurricane is expected to move into the Northern Leeward Islands as a DANGEROUS storm Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. This will have a major impact on the Leeward Islands. The Northern Leeward Islands should prepare for Hurricane force condition which will be accompanied by very strong winds, high storm surge and heavy rainfall. The territories of Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Nevis and Virgin Islands are under a Hurricane Warning.

Regional Readiness Actions – CDEMA Coordinating Unit

  • The Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) is fully activated as of 4:00pm Tuesday September 05, 2017
  • The Regional Coordination Center (RCC) will be fully activated tomorrow, Wednesday September 06, 2017
  • The CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) remains on standby
  • The CARICOM Disaster Assessment and Coordination (CDAC) team and CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST) are also on standby
  • Operational Scenario developed
  • 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

Second Meeting of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) Partners September 5, 2017

The second meeting of the RRM Partners was convened today, Tuesday September 5, 2017 at 1:15pm at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit. The meeting was chaired by CDEMA’s Executive Director and Programme Manager for Preparedness and Response. Approximately forty five (45) participants from regional and international donor, humanitarian and development agencies were represented. CDEMA CU presented an Operational Plan with potential scenarios and Pre-Impact Analysis of vulnerable areas in the threatened CDEMA Participating States. CDEMA will convene another meeting tomorrow, Wednesday September 6, 2017 at 1:00pm (1300 hours) AST.

The following updates were provided at the RRM meeting:

Regional Institutional Updates

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

  • Has activated their Disaster Management Plans
  • They are monitoring the system
  • Sent requests to staff to support regional deployment teams

Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)

  • Has provided CDEMA with US 150,000.00 to support logistical work and initial damage assessment
  • Will provide Emergency Response Grant (ERG) to Participating States

Caribbean Development Fund (CDF)

  • Indicated that a Disaster Assistance Facility of $100 000 USD is available to support response and relief operations to impacted states. There is flexibility to increase this amount based on the severity and complexity of the impact
  • They are depending on the RRM/ RCC to provide reliable damage assessment reports in order to access these funds

Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA)

  • Indicated that they have been in touch with the heads of the national Water and Sanitation Companies in the threatened states and have offered their support to conduct assessments and conduct repairs to damaged water systems

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

  • Indicated that they are actively monitoring the system
  • Technical staff can be made available to support assessments in affected Participating States
  • Stated that the Hon. Allen M. Chastanet, Prime Minister of St. Lucia and Chairman requested that information on assessments be made available to aid in activating support mechanisms in the OECS

Regional Security System (RSS)

  • CDRU has been placed on standby
  • Barbados Coast Guard has been placed on standby to support operations
  • RSS air crew and air staff will also be on standby

CARICOM IMPACS

  • Stands ready to assist the Regional Response Mechanism by providing support to the security forces
  • Is able to facilitate a discussion between the RRM and the Regional Military Chiefs of Staffs in reference to their support to regional response and relief operations post Hurricane Irma

International Institutions Updates:

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)

  • Shared that they are deploying an Emergency Response and Resilience Coordinator to the Dominican Republic, adding that there is currently a coordinator in Haiti

Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

  • Confirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to the provision of 2 airport specialists

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

  • Stated that they have mobilized 60,000 Swiss francs to support the national Red Cross Societies in Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis
  • The Americas office in Trinidad has been fully activated
  • Surge capacities have been identified and are en route to Trinidad
  • Indicated that they are in close communication with their overseas territories
  • Stated that there is a team coordinating activities in Haiti
  • Stated that international funds will soon be requested for the Dominican Republic as well as the pre-positioning of personnel

United Kingdom (DFID)

  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship Mounts Bay is positioned in the region in support of the British Overseas Territories and subsequently, any other State in need of assistance.

United Nations (UN) Agencies

a. PAHO

  • Pre-deployed a consultant to TCI as of 15:00 hrs, a consultant to be deployed to the Bahamas
  • Advised that there are 3 staff members stationed in Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and in St Kitts/Nevis
  • Washington office has been assisting and supporting with monitoring and providing updates
  • Have been in contact with the countries’ Ministries of Health Disaster Coordinators
  • Teams are on stand-by and the areas of focus include Coordination, Logistics, Water and Sanitation, Damage Assessment and Information Management

b. UNDP

  • Stated that they have several people in Barbados who can join the assessment teams
  • Indicated that their New York and Panama Offices have been fully engaged

c. UNFPA

  • Indicated that they have been communicating closely with their Panama and Jamaica offices
  • Indicated that they have reproductive health kits, as well as dignity and hygiene kits available for deployment
  • Stated that they have been in discussions with NGO’s to support any identified needs

d. UNICEF

  • Surge capacity from Latin America and the Caribbean are on standby, with one team member arriving in Barbados today to support Rapid Assessment and WASH
  • Stated that water purification tablets are in Barbados with additional water items in Panama
  • Stated that consideration will be given to providing technical support for the operation of desalination plants (given the scenario provided by CIMH on a Cat. 5 hurricane)
  • Noted that supplies have been pre-positioned in Barbados and Antigua
  • Stated that they will work with PAHO to provide psycho-social support

e. UN OCHA

  • Stated that they have mobilized UNDAC, the first member should arrive in Barbados today and two more are expected to arrive by Thursday.
  • Have deployed two (2) additional staff to Haiti to support the logistics team.

f. UN WOMEN

  • WASH Specialists and Social Protection Specialists are available to support assessment teams

g. 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

Sub Regional Actions:

Jamaica – Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management

  • Indicated that they are on standby as the North-Western sub regional focal point and are actively monitoring the system.
  • Stated that they have four technical staff on standby for deployment
  • Notifications will be sent to Ministry of Health, Jamaica Defense Force

Trinidad and Tobago – Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management

  • Indicated that they are on standby as the Southern sub regional focal point to support the Regional Response Mechanism
  • Stated that they have two technical staff on standby for deployment

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