Lenny Very Close to A Category 5 Hurricane
Hurricane Lenny begins to impact Caribbean Islands. Heavy rains and coastal flooding have been reported in several islands as far south as Grenada. Lenny is now very close to a dangerous Category 5 Hurricane on the Saffir /Simpson Scale and all preparedness actions in the warning areas should have been completed. In addition to the threatened islands in the North Eastern Caribbean, islands in the Windwards are being adversely affected by high sea swells are been taking the necessary precautions against coastal flooding.
At 5.00pm this afternoon Hurricane Lenny was located near Latitude 17.6 north and longitude 64.3 west or about 35 miles East-South-East of St. Croix or 85 miles West-South-West of St. Maarten. Maximum sustained winds are near 150mph with higher gusts especially over unprotected south and west facing harbours. Hurricane winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles. Lenny is moving toward the northeast near 9mph. Weather conditions will continue to worsen and the core is expected to pass over the warning area later today.
Since the hurricane is coming from the southwest, marine interests should remember that the strongest winds are expected over the south and west facing unprotected harbors. Klaus in November 1984 produced considerable marine damage to this area and it was only a tropical storm.
Earlier this afternoon, the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group met and endorsed a Response Plan prepared by CDERA. This Plan details the contingency arrangements being considered to respond to any major impacts in the Caribbean. As part of these arrangements, a Reconnaissance Team is on standby to be deployed as soon as weather conditions permit. The Team is comprised of representatives from CDERA, PAHO, UNDP and RSS.
It is expected that the Recce team will validate the need for the Rapid Needs Assessment Team which is also on standby. CDERA is also finalising arrangements to augment the Team to support multi-island assessments, and EOC operations.
In support of the mobilsation of the response effort, LIAT in accordance with the provisions of the Memorandum of Understand between LIAT and CDERA have agreed to transport relief personnel to the impacted areas.
CARLIEC has also been contacted and placed on standby for possible deployment to support the restoration of utilities in any affected State.
The Caribbean Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) remains on standby and are finalising arrangements for possible deployment.
The CDERA Coordinating Unit will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as necessary.
All members of the Regional Response Mechanism are hereby being advised to remain on standby and be prepared to mobilise with little advance notice.