St. Maarten now under a Tropical Storm Warning.

POSTED: 09/9/11 3:49 PM

Storm conditions expected within 36 hours; Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Meets to Review Current Preparations and Issue Additional Advisories

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – A mini Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting was held at midday on Friday to review national state of preparedness with respect to approaching Tropical Storm Maria.

The Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) that met were the Fire Department, Police, Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure, and the Department of Communications.

Tropical Storm Maria is expected to pass late Friday night into and throughout Saturday bringing tropical storm conditions with wind speeds of 45 miles per hour with gusts to 60 miles per hour.

Tropical Storm Maria is expected to produce total rainfall of four to eight inches with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches.

Weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate later tonight!

The following advisories are being issued by the EOC with respect to Tropical Storm Maria:

Household Waste Collection
Residents are asked to secure their garbage bins. Persons are asked not to throw out their household garbage after 3.00pm today Friday. Waste collection services will commence with emptying garbage bins from 3.00pm onward. Residents are requested not to dump-out any household garbage after 3.00pm, today Friday!!

Concerning the Philipsburg area, households and businesses are requested not to put out any garbage after 6.00pm, today Friday. Garbage collection services will commence after 6.00pm.

Secure Premises
Residents and businesses are requested to secure anything that could blow away around their yards and business premises. These actions should be completed by 9.00pm tonight, Friday.

Of great concern to authorities is the rainfall that is expected from Tropical Storm Maria. The storm is forecast to pass throughout Saturday. Persons who live in flood prone areas should seek shelter by friends. Emergency numbers to call in the event of flooding are 911 and 919.

The Department of Public Works has already taken or is in the process of taking the following pre-storm measures to prevent flooding:

  • Lowering the water level in the Fresh Pond to its lowest level;
  • Belair Pond, water level has already been lowered; additional lowering of current water level will take place later today;
  • Great Bay Beach channel to the sea has been prepared;
  • Culverts are in the process of being cleared along the roads;
  • Trench clearing is also being finalized;
  • Public projects are being secured today, Friday;
  • Installation of pumps in low lying areas;
  • Government buildings are being secured;
  • Landfill, is also being secured; the road to the landfill is re-enforced;
  • Floodgate to the Great Salt Pond is open
  • Pumping stations have already been lowering water levels for the past few days in anticipation of the storm.

Coastal Communities
Residents with beachfront properties should take measures to secure their homes. It is anticipated that sea conditions will deteriorate and high swells are anticipated along the islands south coastal areas.

With respect to the Beacon Hill access road; pre-positioned heavy equipment will be in place to clear the road once the storm passes. A pump will also be in place to pump excess rain water from the road. In case of an emergency, the Police and Public Works will have an alternative road opened, however, this would only be used in case of an emergency.

Construction Sites
Contractors and sub contractors are requested to secure building sites.

Pre-Positioning of Emergency & Heavy Equipment
The Police are allowing heavy equipment to move around on the South side of the island during peak hours to pre-position at different locations which can be used to deal with situations that develop.

The Fire Department is ready for any emergency situation along with Police and other emergency services. The Public Works Department will be posting spotter/removal teams at different locations that will be able to clear blocked waterways as soon as possible to prevent back-up of waterways from any heavy rainfall.

Saturday, September 10
St. Maarten Residents are asked to remain off the public roads as Tropical Storm Maria passes south of the island during Saturday. It is anticipated that there will be a lot of rainfall and therefore possible flooding.

During heavy rainfall those who do venture out to work should proceed with caution, avoid low lying areas; look out for possible street flooding; and if the rainfall is persistent, while driving along hill sides, watch out for possible rock falls.

During high sea swells, persons should stay off the board walk and surrounding areas. The Police will assist with enforcing this measure. This is a public safety measure.

The ODM will continue to closely monitor Tropical Storm Maria as it approaches the islands of the Lesser Antilles. Additional advisories will be issued as warranted.

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