Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Community Health Clinic located on St. Thomas has exceeded its capacity and will no longer be accepting any patients in their special needs clinic.

Governor urges residents to apply for Individual Assistance (IA) using website www.DisasterAssistance.gov. The process has been tested and is efficient, he said. The telephone number to apply for IA is 1-800-621-3362.

IA online application process is aided by creation of Wi-Fi hotspots at Tutu Park Mall, Havensight Shopping Center and the Emile Griffith Ballpark on St. Thomas. On St. John, the Wi-Fi hotspot is the Port Authority parking lot, Cruz Bay, thanks to Viya.

Latest News

US Virgin Islands Governor Calls For Prayers, Unity As Hurricane Recovery Efforts March On

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp invited residents to enter the doors of the church to offer praise and thanksgiving Sunday as he updated reporters on hurricane recovery efforts here on Saturday.

Governor Mapp welcomed church leaders to hold services on Sunday during the suspension of the 24-hour curfew between noon and 4 p.m. on St. Croix, so residents can ask for continued strength to recover from the two devastating storms that impacted the Territory. The curfew in the St. Thomas/St. John district from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. also gives churches the opportunity to hold services during the day.

“I need that time to go back and talk to God, and tell Him thanks for all His blessings and what He’s done - and it’s important for our community to do that - ‘cause He’s really seen us through the challenge,” said Adjutant General Deborah Howell in response to the Governor’s call for prayer. “The work is not ending, but we’re digging down deep. Our community needs us, we’re gonna do what it is we have to do,” she said.

Governor Mapp, who along with Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter met with senators earlier in the day Saturday on St. Thomas, said he is happy to accept their support in the Territory’s recovery efforts. “We’re all one government and one community … I can’t do this alone and (welcome) any help that we can get to benefit the people of the Territory. (Members of the Legislature and their staff) will be fully included more robustly in this effort so that they can reach additional people in the Territory who need help,” said Governor Mapp, who held a similar meeting with senators on St. Croix before Hurricane Maria impacted the area.

Governor Mapp, who signed an agreement with the state of Tennessee to provide support via its National Guard, thanked everyone engaged in the recovery effort, including marshals and volunteers, for their contributions thus far, and commended officials for their work on the distribution of supplies. More than 8,000 people were served at the points of distribution Saturday. Distribution centers will not be open on Sunday, September 24.

Director of the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) Mona Barnes reported supply needs across all four islands were being met and thanked her colleagues for putting in “long nights” and “early mornings”. She also thanked the people of the Virgin Islands for obeying the curfew, making it easier for recovery efforts to continue.

Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School shelter in St. Thomas is now closed; more than 600 residents are being accommodated at remaining shelters in the Territory.

In response to the public’s concerns about mosquito control, Commissioner of Health Dr. Michelle Davis spoke of the Department of Health’s vector control team activities and provided information about mosquito protection. She advised families they may use insect repellants containing DEET, picaridin or IR3535 on children when they are two months old (not younger). They may also use oil of lemon eucalyptus on children ages three and older. Commissioner Davis also noted the Department of Health has baby bed nets available, and encouraged residents to call the Department’s Emergency Operations Center at 340 712-6205 if they need one.

William (Bill) Vogel, Federal Coordinating Officer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region II, discussed supply deliveries and reported the reverse osmosis water system can now be activated. “Today was a great day,” Vogel said, noting two C-17 aircraft delivered meals and water on Saturday. Four additional C-17s are expected to deliver supplies on Sunday.

Vogel suggested that residents take photos of the damages they have sustained, contact their insurance providers to initiate the claims process, and keep all receipts. Residents can register for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 or visiting www.disasterassistance.gov . He reminded residents official FEMA inspectors carry FEMA badges, and cautioned them against anyone purporting to be a “FEMA-approved contractor”. “Always ask to see the FEMA employee’s badge, and if you suspect any fraud, call the hotline at 1-866-720-5721,” he implored.

Governor Mapp reminded residents that every day is a step forward in the recovery process: “Today is better than it was yesterday.”

The Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands will continue to provide updates as they become available.

The official website to donate to the U.S. Virgin Islands recovery effort is usvirecovery.org .

Other resources for information include:
Government House: www.informusvi.com
VITEMA: www.vialert.govVITEMA
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vitema
Government House Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GovernmentHouseUSVI/
The Department of Tourism: www.usviupdate.com
Emergency Operation Centers:
(340) 773-2244 (St. Croix)
(340) 776-2244 (St. John)
(340) 774-2244 (St. Thomas)

Posted 15 hours ago

Governor Mapp Briefs Senators On Recovery Efforts

image

The U.S. Virgin Islands Government is still assessing the damage done to its infrastructure and public facilities, Governor Kenneth E. Mapp told members of the 32nd Legislature Saturday.

The government is insured for a portion of its losses and the federal government has pledged to pay for much of the cost of recovery under the Stafford Act.

Governor Mapp and Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter met with Senate President Myron Jackson and Senators Marvin Blyden, Janette Millin Young, Jean Forde, Tregenza Roach, Brian Smith and Janelle Sarauw in the Board of Elections conference room to discuss the state of the Territory’s effort to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“You can’t change the reality and the reality is we were hit with two Category 5 hurricanes in 12 days,” the Governor said. “It is a painful reality, but we have to look for the silver lining as we move forward and rebuild.”

Jackson said the 32nd Legislature was prepared to play a greater role in the Territory’s recovery. Senators would like to assist in distributing supplies to seniors and others in need and to have a more formalized role at the Emergency Operations Command.

The Governor said that a ship was on its way to the Territory with more than one million meals and a great deal of water. Other items such as cots and radios would also be headed to the Territory.

The Lt. Governor addressed concerns with the process of distributing relief supplies. He reported that despite limited supplies in some areas, Saturday’s distribution, which was expanded to several new sites, went well. “Tomorrow is a chance to hit the reset button and do better where we can,” Potter said.
Senators also had questions about debris removal, mosquito control, jobs in the recovery effort, the status of the hospitals, assisting residents of public housing and the tarpaulin program, which successfully got underway Saturday morning.

Governor Mapp said that there would be many employment opportunities going forward. “We want to get as many of our people who are willing to work on the job,” he said. “There is going to be more work than people here to do it.”
Governor Mapp indicated that FEMA personnel, linemen and relief workers from around the country were on the way to the U.S. Virgin Islands and would be housed on a cruise ship.The Chief Executive said the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development was continuing work on a plan to aid those public housing residents displaced by the storm and that an announcement was expected next week in that regard.

Governor Mapp and Lt. Governor Potter explained to senators that the Emergency Operations Command would soon be moving to the University of the Virgin Islands, where the gym will serve as the center of operations for the local and federal governments’ relief efforts.

The recovery process will, without question, bring new challenges each day, the Governor told senators. “It’s not going to be uneventful,” he said. “I try at my press conferences each day to help manage people’s expectations.”

The Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands will continue to provide updates as they become available. Resources for information include:

Government House: informusvi.com
VITEMA: vialert.govVITEMA
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vitema
Government House Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GovernmentHouseUSVI/
The Department of Tourism: www.usviupdate.com

Emergency Operation Centers:
St. Croix - (340) 773-2244 
St. John - (340) 776-2244 
St. Thomas - (340) 774-2244 

Posted 15 hours ago

Saturday, September 23

Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands Kenneth E. Mapp has announced that commercial flights at Cyril E. King International Airport are expected to resume on a limited basis towards the middle or end of next week.

Speaking at Friday’s press conference, the Governor reported that after visiting the St. Thomas airport, officials were hard at work preparing it for humanitarian or mercy flights. Additional work is still required at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix, and the government is working with cruise partners to transport some residents to Florida towards the end of next week.

Governor Mapp and Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty will meet with members of the business community in both U.S. Virgin Islands districts next week to discuss the readiness of the Territory to welcome visiting cruise passengers in 30 days. “Because it is a possibility, we want to be able to sit with members of the business community in the Territory as our partners to hear from them about readiness and the appropriateness of doing so,” he announced, explaining that the disasters have impacted many workers in the private sector.

The curfew currently in place in the St. Thomas-St. John district has been reduced by one hour, and will be enforced from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. daily. The four-hour suspension (between noon and 4 p.m.) of St. Croix’s 24-hour curfew will be repeated on Saturday, September 23, allowing residents to perform essential tasks such as refueling or picking up supplies from distribution centers or businesses that are open during that time.

Governor Mapp announced that Eulalie Rivera Elementary School will serve as an additional distribution center on St. Croix, joining Cotton Valley Fire Station, Juanita Gardine Elementary School, Alexander Henderson Elementary School and the St. Croix Educational Complex. Residents of Whim Gardens, Flamboyant Gardens and Sunny Isle Elderly Housing are asked not to go to the distribution centers as they will be provisioned individually.

Distribution centers in St. Thomas and St. John include Kirwan Terrace Community Center, Tutu Fire Station, Omar Brown Fire Station near Barbel Plaza, Dorothea Fire Station, Bordeaux Fire Station and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, the Government Parking Lot and The Legislature; and Coral Bay Fire Station, and the ballpark at Julius E. Sprauve Elementary School on St. John.

The Territory’s leader reported what appears to have been the first casualty of Hurricane Maria and extended his sympathy to the family of the individual on St. Thomas who is suspected to have succumbed to drowning.
The Governor held discussions with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson to address the conditions of residents in public housing. “(I expressed) the need for HUD to mobilize forces and resources to get their clients into better housing conditions. I am looking forward to getting a plan from HUD this week that I can share with the community … how folks can be transferred into habitable housing that is safe for them, their families and their children.”

William (Bill) Vogel, Federal Coordinating Officer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region II, announced that meals and supplies are continuing to arrive, there will be a rapid increase in the construction of blue roofs, and a temporary medical facility on St. Thomas has been reassembled and will reopen on Saturday, September 23. Requests for two additional facilities on St. Croix and St. Thomas are being reviewed, and preparations are being made for a Navy aircraft to evacuate dialysis patients Saturday morning. “The federal family is happy that they are able to help and we will continue to do whatever we can as long as it takes in order to be able to support the U.S. Virgin Islands,” he said.

Residents were reminded to register for disaster assistance by calling 1 800-621-3362 or visiting www.disasterassistance.gov . Residents applying for individual assistance will have 60 days from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance. More than 5,500 applications have been received due to the impact of Hurricane Irma and 525 in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“I know it may sound just like a slogan, but it’s a little better than it was yesterday and it is certainly better than the day Maria passed us by,” the Governor remarked.

Posted 1 day ago

Hurricane Maria Update: September 19, 2017

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp, in an 11:00 a.m. briefing, advises residents of the U.S territory that the center of Hurricane Maria is expected to directly hit the south west coast of St. Croix, the southernmost island.


Hurricane Maria is a category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Maria is the second powerful storm to strike the territory in two weeks. The Governor is emphasizing safety as the priority concern. Hurricane Maria will begin impacting St. Croix and the islands to the north beginning late afternoon Tuesday and into Wednesday. Residents whose homes were damaged two weeks ago by Hurricane Irma are urged to seek shelter either in those designated by the government or more secure accommodations.


The following shelters are opened throughout the territory:
ST. THOMAS
Knud Hansen Medical Complex
Lockhart Elementary School
Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School
Ivanna Eudora Kean High School
Roy Lester Schneider Medical Center (Special Needs)

ST. JOHN
Bethany Moravian Church
Guy Benjamin Elementary School
Myrah Keating Smith (Special Needs)

ST. CROIX
Canegata Recreation Park
St. Croix Educational Complex
Herbert Grigg Home
Charles Harwood Hospital (Special Needs)

Residents bound for shelters will not be impeded by curfew restrictions. The Governor warns that Maria is an extremely dangerous hurricane. Residents of St. Croix’s south coast are advised that storm surge may reach 25 feet. The national weather service will issue an alert on cell phones when the impact of the center of the storm is eminent. Conditions throughout the territory will continue to deteriorate until maximum storm impact late Tuesday and into Wednesday. Governor Mapp will provide the next public briefing on Hurricane Maria at 2:00 p.m., conditions permitting.

Posted 5 days ago

National Hurricane Center - EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE MARIA HEADED FOR THE VIRGIN ISLANDS AND PUERTO RICO...

BULLETIN

500 AM AST Tue Sep 19 2017

———————————————-

LOCATION…16.0N 62.3W

ABOUT 65 MI…100 KM WSW OF GUADELOUPE

ABOUT 205 MI…325 KM SE OF ST. CROIX

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…155 MPH…250 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 300 DEGREES AT 9 MPH…15 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…934 MB…27.58 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

——————–

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

None

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…

* Guadeloupe

* Dominica

* St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat

* U.S. Virgin Islands

* British Virgin Islands

* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Antigua and Barbuda

* Saba and St. Eustatius

* St. Maarten

* Anguilla

* St. Lucia

* Martinique

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…

* Saba and St. Eustatius

* St. Maarten

* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy

* Anguilla

* Isla Saona to Puerto Plata

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

* St. Vincent and the Grenadines

* West of Puerto Plata to the northern Dominican Republic-Haiti

border

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected

somewhere within the warning area.  Preparations to protect life and

property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible

within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours

before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force

winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or

dangerous.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are

possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere in Hispaniola, the southeastern Bahamas, and

the Turks and Caicos Islands should monitor the progress of Maria.

Additional watches and warnings may be required today.

For storm information specific to your area in the United

States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please

monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service

forecast office.  For storm information specific to your area

outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your

national meteorological service.

 

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK

——————————

At 500 AM AST (0900 UTC), the center of Hurricane Maria was located

near latitude 16.0 North, longitude 62.3 West.  Maria is moving

toward the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general

motion is expected to continue through Wednesday.  On the forecast

track, the eye of Maria will move over the northeastern Caribbean

Sea today, and approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight

and Wednesday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph (250 km/h) with higher

gusts.  Maria is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson

Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely

during the next day or two, but Maria is forecast to remain an

extremely dangerous category 4 or 5 hurricane while it approaches

the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  An Air Force Hurricane Hunter

aircraft is currently investigating Maria.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the

center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles

(205 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 934 mb (27.58 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

———————-

WIND:  Hurricane conditions will continue to spread throughout

portions of the hurricane warning area in the Leeward Islands this

morning.  Hurricane conditions should spread through the remainder

of the Hurricane Warning area later today and Wednesday.  Hurricane

conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area in the

Dominican Republic late Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions

possible by early Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are possible

in the Tropical Storm Watch area in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

this morning, and are possible in the Tropical Storm Watch area in

the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

Wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains

could be much stronger than the near-surface winds indicated in this

advisory.

STORM SURGE:  A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and

destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11

feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane warning area near

where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands and the

British Virgin Islands.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause

normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters

moving inland from the shoreline.  The water is expected to reach

the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the

time of high tide…

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands…6 to 9 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to

the north and east of the landfall location, where the surge will be

accompanied by large and destructive waves.  Surge-related

flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal

cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.  For information

specific to your area, please see products issued by your local

National Weather Service forecast office.

RAINFALL: Maria is expected to produce the following rain

accumulations through Thursday:

Central and southern Leeward Islands…10 to 15 inches, isolated 20

inches.

U.S. and British Virgin Islands…10 to 15 inches, isolated 20

inches.

Puerto Rico…12 to 18 inches, isolated 25 inches.

Northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla…4 to 8 inches,

isolated 10 inches.

Windward Islands and Barbados…2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches.

Eastern Dominican Republic…4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches.

Rainfall on all of these islands will cause life-threatening flash

floods and mudslides.

SURF:  Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Lesser Antilles.

These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip

current conditions. Please consult products from your local

weather office.

Posted 5 days ago

National Hurricane Center - EYE OF CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE MARIA MOVING OVER DOMINICA...

1100 PM AST Mon Sep 18 2017

…EYE OF CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE MARIA MOVING OVER DOMINICA…

SUMMARY OF 1100 PM AST…0300 UTC…INFORMATION

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…

* Guadeloupe

* Dominica

* St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat

* U.S. Virgin Islands

* British Virgin Islands

* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Antigua and Barbuda

* Saba and St. Eustatius

* St. Maarten

* Anguilla

* St. Lucia

* Martinique

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…

* Saba and St. Eustatius

* St. Maarten

* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy

* Anguilla

* Isla Saona to Puerto Plata

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

* St. Vincent and the Grenadines

* West of Puerto Plata to the northern Dominican Republic-Haiti

border

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK

——————————

At 1100 PM AST (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Maria was located

near latitude 15.5 North, longitude 61.4 West. Maria is moving

toward the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general

motion is expected to continue through Wednesday.  On the forecast

track, the eye of Maria will move over the northeastern Caribbean

Sea on Tuesday and approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft

indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 160 mph (260

km/h) with higher gusts. Maria is a category 5 hurricane on the

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale  Some fluctuations in intensity

are likely during the next day or two, but Maria is forecast to

remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it approaches the

Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the

center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles

(205 km).  Ham radio reports indicate significant damage to

structures has occurred in Dominica.

Posted 6 days ago

Keep Faith!

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp is urging all residents, visitors and emergency relief workers remaining in the U.S. Territory to be prepared for the imminent arrival of Hurricane Maria, now a Category 5 storm. Maria is estimated to reach the U.S. Virgin Islands between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

Together with key emergency management leaders, Governor Mapp held two news conferences Monday, providing comprehensive information regarding the locations and accessibility of emergency shelters on all three islands, including locations designated for individuals with special needs. Underscoring the potential dangers to come in the hours ahead, he announced the reinstatement of a Territory-wide curfew, effective Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Previously, a curfew had been implemented in response to Hurricane Irma and subsequently adjusted to exclude St. Croix, given the relatively minimal damage the island sustained.

The Territory’s seaports will be closed at 8 a.m. Tuesday, and the USVI Water and Power Authority (WAPA) plans to keep St. Croix’s power supply system on until approximately 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

Hurricane Maria is set to be the second major weather system to impact the area in less than two weeks. Given the National Weather Center’s forecast, including maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour, the hurricane’s path could take it fewer than 10 miles south of St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, in what would essentially be a “direct hit” to the island.

In addition to the anticipated hurricane force winds, 12 to 18 inches of rainfall are expected for St. Croix, which was largely spared the brunt of Hurricane Irma’s destruction. Between eight and 12 inches of rain are expected in the St. Thomas/St. John district, which is still recovering from Hurricane Irma. Even after the passage of Hurricane Maria, heavy rainfall is forecast to continue in the Territory through the weekend and into next week. Hurricane force winds are not expected in the St. Thomas/St. John district.

The Governor asked the public to take seriously the warnings about the impending storm, including taking the necessary precautions should individuals choose to remain in their homes. Governor Mapp tempered his message of urgency and concern with a call to exercise common sense as well as faith to counter the inevitable feelings of anxiety that many in the Virgin Islands community are experiencing in the wake of unprecedented storms, devastation and disruption to the normalcy of life.

William L. Vogel, Federal Coordinating Officer of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region II, who has been stationed in the Territory to support Irma recovery efforts, echoed Governor Mapp’s warnings, adding that the tidal surge associated with hurricanes also poses a serious threat. While many relief workers have been evacuated from the Territory until after the passage of Maria, Vogel reiterated FEMA’s commitment to return in full force as soon as weather conditions permit and to continue rebuilding the islands.

The road to recovery and restoration is going to be a long one, Governor Mapp said. It will take weeks and, in some cases, months to restore power to everyone across the Territory. “That’s the reality,” he said.

Calling on all the “prayer warriors” to pray for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Governor reminded the public to “keep the faith.”

“God bless each and every one of you and stay safe,” he said.

Governor Mapp will hold another news conference Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. The Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands will communicate with residents during the storm through local media, the Internet and social media. To stay informed of the latest updates, the public should visit informusvi.com and sign up for alerts at vialert.gov. Other resources include:
VITEMA - https://www.facebook.com/vitema
Government House - https://www.facebook.com/GovernmentHouseUSVI/
The Department of Tourism - www.usviupdate.com
Emergency Operation Centers
(340) 773-2244 (St. Croix)
(340) 776-2244 (St. John)
(340) 774-2244 (St. Thomas)

Posted 6 days ago

New Curfew | September 18

Please be advised a new curfew is in effect beginning at 10 am tomorrow, Tuesday, September 19 in anticipation of the high winds and rains associated with the approach of Hurricane Maria. Residents are advised to shelter in place beginning at 10 am tomorrow until further notice.

Posted 6 days ago

National Hurricane Center - MARIA RAPIDLY INTENSIFIES INTO A MAJOR HURRICANE. THE EYE IS EXPECTED TO MOVE THROUGH THE LEEWARD ISLANDS LATE THIS AFTERNOON OR THIS EVENING...


SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST…1500 UTC…INFORMATION

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the U. S. Virgin Islands.

The Meteorological Service of Antigua has issued a Hurricane

Warning for the British Virgin Islands, and a Tropical Storm Warning

for Anguilla.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK

——————————

At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Maria was located

near latitude 14.7 North, longitude 60.1 West. Maria is moving

toward the west-northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h), and this motion

with some decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday

night.  On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move across

the Leeward Islands late today and tonight, over the extreme

northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night, and approach

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate

that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 120 mph

(195 km/h) with higher gusts.  Maria is a category 3 hurricane on

the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Additional rapid

strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is

expected to be a dangerous major hurricane as it moves through the

Leeward Islands and the northeastern Caribbean Sea.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the

center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles

(205 km).

The minimum central pressure estimated from the Hurricane Hunter

aircraft data is 959 mb (28.32 inches).

Posted 6 days ago

Highlights of News Conference Conducted by U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp, Sunday, September 17, 2017

Emergency Operations Command

Joint Information Center

St. Thomas, VI    

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Highlights of News Conference Conducted by U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp

5:00 p.m.

New Hurricane Threat to U.S. Virgin Islands

·       Governor Kenneth E. Mapp says recovery operations after Hurricane Irma have ceased; now, in protection and shelter mode in preparation for Hurricane Maria.

·       Hurricane Maria expected to pass close to St. Croix as possible Category 3 storm late Tuesday and into Wednesday.

·       5:00 p.m. position 13.8° N, 57.5° W, maximum sustained winds 75 mph, headed WNW at 15 mph.

Safety and Security

·       Governor Mapp stresses the need to seek proper shelter.

·       The Governor orders damaged public housing units a Tutu Highrise community evacuated. Residents may choose to be sheltered or other satisfactory accommodations.

·       Governor announces a third shelter to be opened on St. Thomas, the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School. Already in use are shelters at the Knud Hansen Complex and the Lockhart School. On St. John, the shelters are at the Guy Benjamin School and Bethany Moravian Church. On St. Croix, the shelters are at Canegata Park, the Herbert Grigg Home and the Educational Complex.

Commodities Distribution

·       Governor Mapp shortens curfew period by two hours to allow maximum distribution of food, water and other necessary commodities on Monday. The curfew will be lifted between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

·       Sandbags will be distributed on St. Croix by the Department of Public Works in Anna’s Hope and in Frederiksted.

Security

·       Police, other peace officers, New York State Troopers and Military Police will pre-stage throughout the territory to immediately deploy following passage of Hurricane Maria.

·       FEMA is positioning Incident Management Teams in Emergency Operation Centers on all three islands during the storm.

·       Army and Airforce medical support teams will shelter in place. Other responders already assisting with Hurricane Irma recovery will be flown off island temporarily. The exception will be the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will ride out the storm and resume ‘blue roof’ operation immediately following the storm.

Governor Mapp states that the last two mercy flights will leave St. Thomas tomorrow. Passengers will be taken to the airlines’ main hubs and are required to make independent arrangements to reach their final destinations. The Governor also appeals to all able-bodied residents to assist senior citizens in securing shelter and commodities. The safety and security of the people, he stated, must be the top priority.

###

Posted 1 week ago

AIRPORT REMAINS CLOSED TO COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC
Commercial flights will resume at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas once the Transportation Security Administration is fully functional, V.I. Port Authority Executive Director David Mapp saidFriday. Damage to the roof is preventing TSA from operating its equipment and repairs were hampered further by today’s heavy rains. Local officials will meet with TSA and the airlines Sunday in order to determine when normal operations will resume, he said. Humanitarian and military flights are scheduled for this weekend. Scheduled charter flights from major airlines are expected to beginMonday. Those with travel reservations are advised to contact their airline for updates on schedule changes.
Governor Mapp interview on NPR

Emergency Operations Command Update on Tropical Storm Jose

A Tropical Storm watch has been in effect since 11:00 today for the islands of St. Thomas and St. John as Hurricane Jose was located 415 miles east-southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and a minimum central pressure of 942 mb.

Jose is moving toward the west-northwest near 18 mph. On the forecast track, the center of Jose will pass near or east of the northeastern Leeward Islands on Saturday. Some fluctuations in intensity are possible for the next day or so, and gradual weakening is expected after that.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area in the northeastern Leeward Islands by Saturday morning and in the watch area in the Virgin Islands by Saturday night.

Jose is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the Virgin Islands and Dominica.

Governor Kenneth E. Mapp urges everyone to take all steps possible despite our current difficult conditions to prepare for the anticipated rainfall.

Airport Update - developing

Cyril E. King airport in St. Thomas is being prepared to accept military shipments of relief supplies and personnel later today. It is among the top priorities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the local government to open the air bridge that would support the needs of hurricane victims on St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island. The Water and Power Authority continues working to restore electricity at the airport.

STX runway has been cleared but not sure if flights are going out as of yet. This update is developing as we are getting bits and pieces of info sent to us so please stay tuned as we find out more. 

Curfew Lifted on St. Croix 8:00am - 6:00pm

Per Governor Kenneth Mapp, “St. Croix curfew is lifted today at 8:00am through 6:00pm. An update will be provided at 3:00pm. If WAPA can light up more areas on St. Croix, suspension of curfew may occur. Safety and security is priority.”

IRMA WIND SPEED UPDATE LINK

"It is important for users to realize that wind speed probabilities that might seem relatively small at their location might still be quite significant, since they indicate that there is a chance that a damaging or even extreme event could occur that warrants preparations to protect lives and property."

Shelters on St. John
Bethany Methodist Church
Julius Sprauve School

Shelters on St. Thomas
E. Benjamin Oliver School
Knud Hansen Complex

Shelters on St. Croix
St. Croix Educational Complex
Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged

Animal Safety During Hurricane Irma

The Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands is advising residents to secure their animals during the passage of Hurricane Irma. Government officials have advised residents who own horses to keep them in their stables if the stables are secure. If stables are not secure or if residents do not have stables, owners should take their horses to the nearest fenced-in pasture and untie them. The horses will be safer and less fearful if they are free to move about and find their own shelter within the pasture. Smaller animals, such as dogs, should by no means be left chained outside during the passage of a hurricane. Governor Kenneth Mapp encourages pet owners to secure their animals inside in a small room such as the bathroom or in a cage indoors. Shelters in the U.S. Virgin Islands are pet-friendly to small animals, provided they are kept in a cage. Larger animals cannot be brought to shelters.

The Virgin Islands Department of Human Services announces the closure of all senior centers and Head Start Centers on September 5. 2017.  Commissioner Felecia L. Blyden stated, " The department, like the entire central government, is currently in disaster preparedness mode in light of updated information pertaining to Hurricane Irma. This closure is specific to the Richmond Senior Center on St. Croix, Strive Senior Center on St. Thomas, and the Adrian Senior Center on St. John. Equally important to this notice, please be advised that all DHS operated Head Start Centers will be closed."

Sand bag distribution locations will be opened throughout the territory  beginning on Monday, September 4, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the following locations:  

St. Croix:  
Department of Public Works, Anna’s Hope      
Department of Public Works, Frederiksted      
Grove Fire Station      
Cotton Valley Fire Station  

St. Thomas:  
Department of Public Works      
Bordeaux Fire Station      
Tutu Fire Station  

St. John:  
Department of Public Works  

Emergency Operations Command
Joint Information Center
St. Thomas, VI
Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Emergency Operations Command Center in the USVI continues to evaluate the emergency conditions of St. Thomas and St. John which bore the brunt of Hurricane Irma’s impact.

Priorities already established include; evacuation of patients from the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital; relocating occupants of damaged shelters; clearing priority roadways; evaluating infrastructure; restoring electricity; reopening the air fields; distribution of food and commodities; security; and maintaining contact with St. John..

Due to “catastrophic failures “ as described by hospital officials at RLS Hospital on St. Thomas, dialysis patients are advised that no dialysis service is available, therefore, patients should not try to keep appointments and will be advised accordingly. Authorities are extremely concerned about the danger posed by downed powerlines, some of which may be energized. Persons are advised to avoid downed power lines at all cost.

Governor Kenneth Mapp has requested a major disaster declaration, which may provide federal disaster assistance to individuals affected by the storm as well as public entities.