A hurricane alert is now in effect for the islands of the Northwest Bahamas, including New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco, Grand Bahama, North Andros, Bimini and the Berry Islands.
Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator J. Kwasi Thompson addressed the storm’s whereabouts during a briefing on Thursday (August 29) afternoon.
Sen. Thompson said that through geographic information system (GIS) technology, officials were able to determine the flooding potential of the storm.
“If the storm stays on the same track that it is on now, it can bring a tremendous amount of storm surge,” he added, noting that persons need to stay tuned to possible evacuation announcements, particularly residents in low lying areas.
“We want residents to be ready to move if they are called upon to be moved,” said Sen. Thompson.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works Iram Lewis, Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama assured that all government assets have been secured.
“All of the schools have been battened up,” he said.
He added that they (Ministry of Works) partnered with other government agencies such as Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources to accomplish this.
Lewis also spoke to the possible use of the Fishing Hole Road Bridge.
He disclosed that officials have been given clearance and are working along with the general contractor, to allow the bridge to be used for emergencies only, not daily use.
“It will be used for emergency purposes,” Lewis stressed.
Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard, Marco City MP also advised residents to pay close attention to all relevant media reports on the closure of government offices and schools.
He acknowledged that there are concerns regarding buildings that have already been compromised by previous storms and assured that the government will be taking the necessary steps to address this.
“We ask you to corporate fully with the Environmental Department of the Port Authority,” he urged.
Pintard furthered that another tremendous challenge officials have is, restoring power and utilities after storms, due to wires and lines being intertwined with trees.
“This is the time to call for emergency services so that they can assist in cutting back those trees,” he said.
Residents are reminded to discontinue putting out debris as pickup services have ceased and debris can become missiles during the storm.
Ministry of Education District Superintendent Ivan Butler, provided information on the start of the new school year, which has been postponed.
He revealed that orientation was planned for Friday (August 30) has been cancelled and parents should know that schools will not open on Monday, September 2 until further notice.
“Parents are reminded the keep their children home,” Bulter said.
A hurricane alert remains in effect for the islands of the Northwest Bahamas. A hurricane alert means that hurricane conditions are expected in the mentioned islands within 60 hours.
At 2:00 p.m. EDT, the center of hurricane Dorian was located near latitude 21.9 degrees north and longitude 67.5 degrees west or about 259 miles north-northwest of San Juan Puerto Rico, 259 miles east of the Turks and Caicos Islands, 370 miles east of Matthew Town Inagua and 659 miles east-southeast of New Providence. Dorian is moving toward the northwest near 13 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue through Friday. A west-northwestward motion is forecasted to begin Friday night and continue into the weekend. On this track, Dorian should move over the Atlantic well to the east of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeast and Central Bahamas today and Friday, and approach the Northwest Bahamas on Saturday, and move near or over portions of the Northwest Bahamas on Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 85 miles per hour with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane on Friday and remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through the weekend.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 90 miles from the center.
Small craft operators in the Northwest Bahamas should begin to seek safe harbour for their vessels and make sure they are properly secured. Mariners in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the central and southeast Bahamas should exercise caution for moderate to large swells on Friday and Saturday.
Tropical Storm Dorian was expected to become a hurricane as it got closer to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were warned to brace for possible heavy rains and “life-threatening” flash floods, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11:00 a.m. Wednesday update.
On Tuesday (August 27) A tropical storm alert was put in effect for the southeast Bahamas which includes Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Samana Cay and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This means that tropical storm conditions could affect the mentioned islands within 60 hours.