No newspapers on Thursday: Tropical Storm Erika is upon us tonight

POSTED: 08/26/15 3:00 PM


ErikaThe projected path of Tropical Storm Erika. Photo screenshot National Hurricane Center

St. Maarten – The center of Tropical Storm Erika is expected to pass near St. Maarten tonight or around 2 a.m. on Thursday. The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported in its intermediate update at 8 p.m. last night the storm’s location as at 15.8N, 53.6W at 875 kilometers east of Antigua, well south of St. Maarten. Maximum sustained winds were 65 kilometers per hour and the storm was moving west at 31 kilometers per hour.

Tropical storm watches were in effect for St. Maarten, Saba, Statia, Anguilla, St. Barths, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda and Montserrat.

Planes of the US air force and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) described the organization of Erika as ‘poor.”

The local newspapers will not appear on Thursday due to the weather conditions that could put the safety of personnel at the print plant and that of street vendors at risk.

Utilities Company Gebe announced that it may have to cut off water and electricity later tonight, depending on the development of the storm.

The port announced that Carnival cruise lines have canceled the visit of the Conquest for today. The Carnival Liberty is scheduled to dock on Friday.

Cargo operations continue today, but they will be suspended on Thursday.

The Simpson Bay lagoon authority says that vessels that want to enter or leave the lagoon should hail the bridge attendant on VHF channel 12. The bridge will continue to open at scheduled times.

The SLAC does not want foreign cargo vessels entering the lagoon for shelter because in the past they have caused considerable damages to life and property. Instead, the SLAC advises cargo vessels to take note of the path of the storm and to secure their property.

Other vessels that enter the lagoon are advised to take down all sails and awnings. “Use the largest anchor and chain available and ensure that proper chafing gear is in place,” the advice reads.
The University of St. Martin rescheduled classes for the Masters of Education Program from August 27 to 29 to September 3 to 5.

The National Hurricane Center said in its intermediate advisory at 8 p.m. that Erika was on a west-north-west path and that its forward speed would slow down somewhat over the next 48 hours. The center of Erika is projected to be near the Leeward Islands on Wednesday night and early Thursday.

The forecasters foresee a “slow strengthening” of the maximum wind speeds over the next two days. Tropical storm winds extend outward up to 130 kilometers from the center of the storm.

Tropical storm conditions are “possible” on Wednesday night and Thursday.

Erika is expected to produce 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 mm) of rainfall.

The government issued its first press release about Erika towards the end of the morning yesterday, reporting that it was at 720 miles (1,160 kilometers) south-east of the island. The message contained an ominous warning: “Danny weakened before it reached the Leeward Islands. Tropical Storm Erika does not show any signs of weakening over the forecast period. Therefore, maintain your level of preparedness, as Erika is expected to be in our area within the next two days.”

Winair announced yesterday afternoon that it has canceled flight WM049 (to Tortola) and WM335 (to Nevis). Flights WM 541-542 (St. Maarten-Statia-St. Maarten) is retimed at 5.45 0 6.05 – 6.15 and 6.35 p.m. All flights for Thursday have been canceled. And Winair expects to resume its normal schedule on Friday.

Information about canceled flights and rescheduling is available via 545 42 37 or at Passengers will be accommodated on flights subject to availability. Like earlier this week, the airline’s storm policy is in effect, allowing re-accommodation at no cost to customers.

Seaborne airlines advised travelers to check the status of their flights on or on its Facebook page.

Leeward Islands Air Transport (Liat) canceled five flights for today, eleven flights for tomorrow and one flight for Friday. Among the canceled flights for today are LI 508 (Antigua-St. Kitts-St. Maarten-Tortola) and LI509 (Tortola-St. Maarten-Antigua).

Among the canceled flights on Thursday are LI550 (Antigua-St. Kitts-St. Maarten-St. Thomas), LI553 (St. Thomas-St. Maarten-Antigua), LIU508 (Antigua-St. Kitts-St. Maarten- Tortola) and the return flight on this route (LU 509), LI326 (Barbados-St. Maarten) and the return flight on this route LI327.

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No newspapers on Thursday: Tropical Storm Erika is upon us tonight by

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