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Message: Joaquin now a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Tropical Storm Warning issued for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

THE SITUATION:
On September 30th, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin became the tenth named hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for Central Bahamas, and has been issued for Northwestern Bahamas (including the Abacos, Berry Islands, Eleuthra, Grand Bahama Island and New Providence) and, Southeastern Bahamas (including the Acklins, Crooked Island and Mayaguana). A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Bimini and Andros Island. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the remainder of the southeastern Bahamas now including the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Andros Island.

 

At 2:00 p.m (October 1st, 2015) the centre of Hurricane Joaquin was located near latitude 23.0 North and longitude 74.2 West, or about 70 miles South Southeast of San Salvador. Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph with higher gusts. Joaquin is moving generally southwestward at about 6 mph and a southwestward or westward motion is expected through tonight. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.

PROGNOSIS:
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, a turn toward the northwest and north is expected by Friday, and a faster motion toward the north is expected Friday night and Saturday. On the forecast track, the centre of Joaquin will move near or over portions of the central Bahamas today and tonight and past near or over portions of the northwestern Bahamas on Friday.

WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to continue in portions of the central and southeastern Bahamas through Friday. Hurricane conditions are expected over portions of the northwestern Bahamas on Friday, whilst Tropical Storm conditions will affect other portions of the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands through tonight (October 1st, 2015).

STORM SURGE: A very dangerous and life threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 10 feet above normal tide levels in the Central Bahamas in areas of onshore flow. A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels is expected in the reminder of the Bahamas within the hurricane warning area. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.

RAINFALL: Joaquin is expected to produce 10 to 15 inches of rain over much of Central Bahamas, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches possible. Rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches are expected over the southeastern Bahamas with 2 – 4 inches possible over the northwestern Bahamas. This rainfall could result in life-threatening flash floods. Ourter rain bands of Joaquin may affect portions of Haiti today and tonight.

SURF: Swells generated by Joaquin will affect portions of the Bahamas during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

NATIONAL ACTIONS:
The CDEMA Coordinating Unit is in contact with the National Disaster Offices across the region and they are currently monitoring the system.

Bahamas
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has reported the following:

  • The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is now fully activated
  • All administrators on the Family Islands within the Warning and Watch areas have been contacted and are in a state of readiness. Shelters opened as of 6:00pm on September 30th, 2015
  • Persons in low lying areas have been urged to move to safer locations

Turks and Caicos Islands
The Department of Disaster Management has reported the following:

  • Disaster related units, shelter managers and damage assessment teams remain on standby
  • Local flooding reported on the island of Providenciales, but flood waters are not considered to be at dangerous levels
  • All airports within the Turks and Caicos Islands are currently closed
  • All public offices, schools and banking institutions were closed as at 3:30pm today

REGIONAL ACTIONS:
The Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) has been placed on standby. The RRM is coordinated by CDEMA through the Regional Coordination Centre in Barbados, and is an arrangement for the coordination of disaster response among CDEMA Participating States, and Regional and International Agencies including the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU); CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST), and the CARICOM Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team (CDAC).

Regional readiness actions have continued in accordance with the Regional Coordination Plan. Pre-identification of team members for potential support to the Bahamas through the COST and CDAC has been undertaken. In addition, the CDEMA CU has pre-identified and placed on standby a team to support the Bahamas in an assessment of rapid needs if required.

The North Western (Jamaica) Sub-Regional Disaster Emergency Response Operational Unit of the CDEMA System has advised that they are ready to provide support in the event this should become necessary. The Sub-Regional Disaster Emergency Response Operational Units are located within the National Disaster Offices and support the CDEMA’s response coordination to affected countries within their respective groupings.

The Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) continues to provide briefings to the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU) on the status of the system and an outlook for the next 48 hours, and this information is being used to refine the operational scenarios of the CDEMA CU. It should be noted that CIMH is not a forecasting agency but provides these briefings to the CDEMA CU to facilitate scenario planning at the regional and national levels.

The University of the West Indies has advised that engineering support teams are on standby to provide support if required.

CDEMA will continue to monitor the system and provide updates as necessary.

The public is advised to

  • Monitor radio or television and other official sources of information for progress reports
  • Update your personal family preparedness plan and action items according to that plan
  • The website www.weready.org provides additional information

CONTACT DETAILS: The CDEMA CU 24-hour contact number 1(246) 434-4880

 

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