Center (EOC) remained fully operational on Sunday with all relevant stakeholders, both governmental and non- governmental agencies on hand, closely monitoring the status of Hurricane Irma, as the outer bands of the monstrous storm impacted the Northern Bahamas.
Although Hurricane Irma early Sunday began making its way into the Florida Keys and other parts of Southern Florida, heavy winds and rain affected the island of Grand Bahama early Sunday and conditions were expected to continue to deteriorate into the afternoon and evening.
As the hurricane warnings were lifted for the northwest Bahamas, a tropical warning remained in affect for the islands.
As a result, Minister of State within the Office of the Prime Minister on Grand Bahama, Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson encouraged all residents to remain indoors until the ‘All Clear’ indication is given by both the local Meteorological (Met) office and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) officials.
“As at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday we were given a downgrade to a tropical storm warning. We are still encouraging all residents to remain indoors. We do not want anyone on the streets at the moment. The Emergency Operating Center (EOC), remains open and we will continue to remain open. We have been fielding calls in all of last night and this morning. We will be fielding calls throughout the day.
“At 10:30 a.m., there are 411 persons who are in shelters and we are happy that a number of persons from West End came out and are with family and friends. We are closely monitoring the Fishing Hole Road. It is passable at the moment, but we continue to monitor that and the police will make a call in reference to that, if necessary. We are also monitoring the Smith’s Point seawall construction site. At the moment, again, while tide may be rising, the seawall is still holding at the moment. We continue to monitor that.
“We have had regular check ins with West End and East End, from both Administrators, because they both have their own EOC’s and all of them report that things are fine, a few minor incidents but no major issues there.
“Thankfully, at the moment, there is no major flooding in the western area. But, again, we are telling residents to remain indoors, to make sure that they continue to stay safe.
“We are also in constant communication with the power company. They have indicated that at the moment there are a few poles that are down, which they are addressing. They are encouraging persons to call in if necessary and if they have any power issues to call their emergency numbers. They can also call the EOC and pass those messages onto the power company as well. There are some pockets that are out of power and, as soon as the winds die down, they have indicated that they will immediately address those issues. However they have communicated to us that they intend to keep the power system on throughout the storm as long as possible, so there is no intention of shutting down the system,” revealed Thompson.
The dangerous Hurricane Irma, that has claimed the lives of over 20 persons in the Caribbean, made a significant shift early Friday morning.
Thompson, nevertheless, warned residents not to let their guard down throughout the remainder of hurricane season that ends on November 30.
“All in all Grand Bahama has fared well but we continue to monitor and continue to remain vigilant.,” Thompson further stated.