Governor Kenneth Mapp said during a press conference today that he would make a decision on whether to initiate a full-blown state of emergency declaration by noon on Wednesday, as his administration continues to monitor the path of Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to either maintain its “strong tropical storm” status, or grow stronger and regain its hurricane rank as it passes south of the USVI over the weekend.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Dominica, Guadeloupe and Martinique. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Antigua, Montserrat and St. Kitts and Nevis. The National Hurricane Center (N.H.C.) said interests elsewhere in the Leeward Islands should monitor the progress of Isaac as additional watches or warnings will likely be issued tonight.
The storm, on its current trajectory, will pass 120 miles south of St. Croix as either a hurricane or tropical storm. Either way, the island will be impacted in some form, and the governor is urging residents to be prepared and to stock up on needs such as gas for generators, to beat the potential last-minute rush.
“People should remain vigilant,” the governor said.
He also confirmed that St. John has no safe shelters, and that in case of the need to evacuate, St. John residents would be ferried to St. Thomas at the BCB school. Shelters territory-wide include the following:
St. Croix: St. Croix Educational Complex, Claude O. Markoe Elementary School, Department of Human Services Frederiksted Head Start, Central High School,DC Canegata Complex.
St. Thomas: Lockhart Elementary School, Charlotte Amalie High School Auditorium, Bertha B. Boschulte School and Knud Hansen Complex (STRIVE).
According to the National Hurricane Center’s 5:00 p.m. advisory, the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 51.3 West. Isaac is moving toward the west near 17 mph (28 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next few days. On the forecast track, Isaac is anticipated to move near or over the central Lesser Antilles on Thursday, move into the eastern Caribbean Sea Thursday night, and move into the central Caribbean Sea by the weekend.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts. Isaac is expected to be near hurricane strength when it moves through the central Lesser Antilles, with some weakening forecast afterward on Friday and Saturday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km) from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 996 mb (29.42 inches).
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