Message: Dominica significantly impacted by Tropical Storm Erika. Regional response teams on standby for immediate deployment. Storm conditions are expected to continue over portions of the Leeward Islands, and reach the Virgin Islands later today.
Erika, the fifth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed on 24 August, 2015. At 2.00pm Tropical Storm warnings remained in effect for the following countries: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and St. Kitts and Nevis. Tropical Storm watches have been issued for the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning for that country. At 2:00 pm, the centre of Tropical Storm Erika was located near latitude 16.5 North, longitude 63.8 West, and approximately 158 miles (255 km) west of Guadeloupe. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles, to the east of the centre. The system is moving toward the west near 16 mph (26 km/h). A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast for later today, with this general motion continuing through the next 48 hours. On the forecasted track, the centre will move near the Virgin Islands later today. Maximum sustained winds are reported as near 45 mph with higher gusts and the forecast anticipates little change in strength during the next 48 hours.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue over portions of the warning area in the Leeward Islands through early this afternoon, and reach the Virgin Islands later today. Tropical storm conditions are possible in Anguilla and British Virgin Island through early this afternoon, and could reach Turks and Caicos Islands by late Friday (28 August) or early Saturday (29th August). Erika is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches possible across portions of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeast Bahamas through Saturday.
Preliminary reports indicate that there has been significant rainfall in Dominica that has resulted in flooding and landslides. There are reports of casualties and damage to infrastructure: 25-30 persons presumed missing in the north-eastern and south-eastern areas of Dominica,
Three (3) bodies have been recovered to date.
Airport remains closed
Requests at this time are for assistance in Search and Rescue, medical support and damage assessment.
Anguilla remains under Tropical Storm warning. Government offices are closed; shelters were opened and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was partially activated on 26 August 2015.
Antigua and Barbuda
The government of Antigua and Barbuda has discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning for that country. No reports of casualties or damage have been received to date.
British Virgin Islands
Government offices remain closed. Airports (Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Beef Island) are also closed and will remain so until Friday 28 August 2015 (pending satisfactory outcomes of post-impact inspections). The NEOC was activated on Wednesday 26 August 2015.
Montserrat remains under Tropical Storm warning and no reports of damage or casualties have been received to date.
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis remains under Tropical Storm warning and no reports of damage or casualties have been received to date.
Turks and Caicos Islands
The National EOC will be fully activated on Friday, 28 August, 2015. Damage Assessment Teams have met and are on standby for deployment. Shelter managers have been identified and are also on standby in the event it becomes necessary to open shelters throughout the TCI.
- The CDEMA Coordinating Unit has activated the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) given the preliminary reports of significant impact to Dominica from Tropical Storm Erika. The RRM is an arrangement for the coordination of disaster response among CDEMA Participating States, and Regional and International Agencies. The RRM is coordinated by CDEMA through the Regional Coordination Centre in Barbados.
- The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) held its daily briefing with the CDEMA Coordinating Unit on the status of Tropical Storm Erica and outlook for the next 48 hours. The briefing was attended by CDEMA CU Staff, UNDP and Participating States and covered the overnight meteorological impacts of Erica. Also discussed was the projected forecast for later today and tonight. It should be noted that CIMH is not a forecasting agency and the information provided is being used to inform response actions at national and regional levels.
- The CDEMA CU has notified the relevant response teams for deployment to Dominica by tomorrow (Friday, August 28). Air transport has also been requested to assist with reconnaissance, search and rescue and medical evacuation, and is prepared to deploy once more favourable flying conditions arise.
- The teams will include the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST), CARICOM Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team (CDAC), and the CARICOM Disaster Response Unit (CDRU) through the Regional Security System (RSS), Regional Search and Rescue Team and medical resources through PAHO.
Additionally, the CDEMA CU is receiving support from the Central and Southern Sub-Regions, led by Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively:
Trinidad and Tobago is providing a helicopter and medical teams.
Barbados, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago are proving personnel to be deployed as part of CDAC and COST teams.
- Antigua and Barbuda has indicated that it two (2) teams are on standby to provide support for Search and Rescue operations.
- Regional partners are also providing support. PAHO teams are on standby for deployment to assist in hospital assessment and medical services. UNICEF has pledged relief supplies inclusive of hygiene kits, water purification tablets, and tents.
- A meeting of the ECDPGDM has been tentatively scheduled Friday August 28, 2015.
- The Association of Caribbean Police has contacted it members and asked that they be on standby to provide any assistance as necessary to affected countries.
CDEMA will continue to monitor the system and provide updates as necessary.
CONTACT DETAILS: The CDEMA CU 24-hour contact number 1(246) 434-4880