By Latrishka Thomas
Despite the fact that Jerry has strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane, today will be a normal day for workers across Antigua and Barbuda because at press time, it was reported by the director of the Met office that Jerry was slated to pass a safe distance north of all of the islands.
Thus, Director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), Philmore Mullin, said that “Based on the information coming out of the Met Office, and what I’ve seen, [today] is a normal working day.”
As of 5:00 pm yesterday, Hurricane Jerry had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.
At that time, the storm was about 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands and headed west-northwest at 17 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Tropical storm watches were in effect for Barbuda, Anguilla, St Maarten, St Martin, St Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius.
Meanwhile, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority has been implementing its disaster plans in preparation for the possibility that Jerry could bring storm-force winds and heavy rainfall.
Speaking on OBSERVER AM yesterday, Jason Peters – Transmission and Distribution Engineer at APUA – was positive about the Authority’s readiness, and shared some details of APUA’s preparation procedures.
“What we have done, we have had our pre-storm meeting as the senior staff, engineers of various sections where we activated the hurricane plan to ensure that all the necessary things are in place; our standby power, who is responsible for preparing what building, ensuring that the heavy-duty vehicles to a good extent are in a state of readiness; ensure that all our vehicles are filled with fuel, etc,” he revealed.
Peters also explained that there are some areas that will be of prime concern to the utilities company as it relates to reconnection. “The feeder that feeds the hospital which is the Five Islands number four, that’s a priority. The port of entry which is Cassada Gardens number six for the Deep Water Harbour, the Cassada Gardens number four for the Airport, those are priorities. Also, the water plants because we need to get back water, and we are also responsible to ensure that power gets back to the city first. Anybody will then get power based on a need-basis according to the situation,” Peters added.