PRESS RELEASE — People of the Virgin Islands, this is Governor Jaspert. When I last spoke with you on Saturday September 16, I indicated that my next address will be on Monday unless there are urgent developments.
Unfortunately, I must speak to you today (Sunday, September 17) as there are some new developments with Tropical Storm Maria which need to be brought to your immediate attention.
We are all still dealing with relief and recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma but while we are doing this, we must also prepare for what may come.
The report at 2pm today shows that Tropical Storm Maria continues to move west-northwest at 15 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds nearing 65 miles per hour with higher gusts.
The system is expected to develop into a hurricane today or tonight.
Based on the forecast the center of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands Monday night and could pass close to the British Virgin Islands on Tuesday or Wednesday as a major Hurricane.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center.
Currently, forecasters expect storm force winds to affect the Territory potentially causing gusty winds and flooding.
These winds could potentially turn remaining debris from Hurricane Irma into projectiles. I encourage you to secure any loose items around property and to also volunteer your services in your community to speed up the debris management and ongoing ghut clearing activities. We need all members of the community coming together to assist.
Fast tracking the ghut and debris clearing process is critical as Maria is also expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the British Virgin Islands.
I urge you to do all you can now to prepare for the passage of Maria. Please stock up on food and water for at least three days, and secure a safe area in your home or other place of shelter. Individuals in low-lying areas, high hillsides, or close to ghuts should consider moving.
To enable public works to accelerate the clearing of debris in consultation with the Premier and Cabinet I am extending the curfew from 6:00p.m. on Monday September 18 until the all clear is given. Please remain off the roads during this period.
Military and police will also remain in the Virgin Islands to ensure the security of all islanders, and will still be here once the storm has passed to keep us safe and assist with relief and recovery.
I will give a further update on Monday.
May you continue to be resilient and united as we work together to ensure we’re prepared for the storm, and ready to continue the rebuilding efforts once it has passed.
From the Governor of the Virgin Islands, may God Bless and protect us in this Territory.