Public urged to monitor Tropical Storm Maria’s approach

POSTED: 09/8/11 11:44 AM

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) has urged the general public to closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Maria, which formed in the Atlantic early Tuesday morning. An Air Force Reconnaissance Aircraft is expected to investigate the system further on Thursday and disaster officials anticipate that a tropical storm watch could be issued as early as Thursday morning. The storm is expected to pass “very close” to St. Maarten as a moderate Tropical Storm.

The Office of Disaster Management is not sure what impact the storm will have on the local weather but the Meteorological Department in Curacao has begun advising people to get ready for a rainy weekend. According to a bulletin on the storm the winds will become gradually northeasterly and intensify on Saturday and sea swells will begin building gradually late Friday or early Saturday. The rainfall related to Maria is forecast to begin falling Saturday and continue until late Sunday morning.
Because of the imminent strike the 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) of the island’s disaster management system have been placed on standby and instructed to closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Maria. Residents are also advised to be prepared to take action if needed.

The Office of Disaster Management is also advising ccontractors, builders and sub-contractors to review their plans of action in order to take quick action to secure job sites in the event of a passing tropical storm/hurricane. Materials such as plywood, shingles, zinc, and other construction material could become flying missiles capable of impaling brick walls or anything in its way. Construction debris can cause severe damage to property and cost lives.

Food wholesalers and warehouse depots are requested to review their plan of action to secure their properties in the event of a storm/hurricane threat. Materials such as plywood, shipping pallets, food pallets, pieces of metal used to secure pallet shipments, can easily become flying missiles and a threat.
“The ODM will closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Maria and the public will be informed in future communications and advisories on Thursday and Friday,” the department stated in a release.

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