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HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The core of intense Hurricane Joaquin begins to move away from the central Bahamas
  • Joaquin is now a Category 3 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
  • Joaquin is expected to produce heavy rainfall over the central Bahamas, with some rainfall expected over the southeastern Bahamas, northwestern Bahamas, eastern Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • This rainfall could result in life-threatening flash floods.

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, 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 8:00 p.m. (October 2nd, 2015), the centre of Hurricane Joaquin was located by a reconnaissance aircraft near latitude 24.3 North and longitude 74.3 West. Data from a reconnaissance plane indicate that the maximum sustained winds remain near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 50 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles. Some slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

PROGNOSIS:
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Joaquin is now moving toward the northeast near 7 mph (11 km/h), and this general motion should continue with a gradual increase in forward speed during the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the core of the strongest winds of Joaquin will move away from the Bahamas later tonight.

WIND:
Hurricane conditions are expected to continue across portions of the central Bahamas for the next several hours. Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are expected over portions of the northwestern Bahamas tonight. Tropical storm conditions will affect portions of the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands this evening (October 2nd 2015).

STORM SURGE:
A very dangerous and life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 12 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 remainder 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 total rain accumulations of 12 to 18 inches over the central Bahamas with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 5 inches are expected over the southeastern Bahamas, northwestern Bahamas, eastern Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. This rainfall could result in life-threatening flash floods.

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.

The Bahamas

IMPACTS
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has provided the following initial report based on contact with the islands:

  • Acklins: flooding has been reported, significant flooding reported in Snug Corner and Mason’s Bay. Five houses were destroyed in Mason’s Bay, and four in Snug Corner; but there no injuries reported. All residents were accounted for in the visited settlements. Power outages have been reported.

  • Crooked Island: Attempts are still being undertaken to establish communication.

  • Mayaguana: the wind has settled with not much damage to structures other than loss of roof shingles; communications is still available

  • Long Island: Power outages have been reported, private wells were reportedly contaminated, roads were impassable, and there was complete structural damages to many homes. It is estimated that the northern part of the island is under four (4) feet of water.

  • In the following islands, 215 persons were reported to be sheltered: San Salvador (72), Harbour Island: (21), Eleuthera (81),. Cat Island (9), Rum Cay (32).

  • Shelters were also activated in Crooked Island, Exuma and Mangrove Cay.

INITIAL NEEDS
NEMA has requested the following initial assistance:

  • Food

  • Water

  • Emergency shelter.

  • Aerial Reconnaissance

  • Damage Assessment support in the South and Central Bahamas

  • Electricity Restoration

  • Water and Sewerage restoration

NATIONAL ACTIONS
All of the relevant government and non-governmental agencies, including the Bahamas Red Cross and US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), of The Bahamas are standing by to do a rapid assessment as soon as the weather permits and NEMA will be advising the public on an ongoing basis as to all efforts to bring relief to the affected areas.

Haiti
Initial reports coming out of from Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC) indicate:

  • 200 persons have been evacuated in the coastal area of Bord-De-Mer De Jean-Rabel in the North West of Haiti due to storm surges.

  • In Port de Paix, persons have been evacuated to shelters for the night.

  • In the northwest, there has been damage resulting from a tree falling unto two (2) homes. This resulted in 2 persons suffering minor injuries.

Turks and Caicos Islands

IMPACT
The Department of Disaster Management and Emergency (DDME) has reported the following:

  • There have been reports of flooding in downtown Providenciales. The water has since been pumped and is draining. An assessment will be conducted tomorrow (October 3rd 2015) to assess damage. Thus far, there have been no major damages reported.

  • Two boats have sunk in the ferry terminal however there were no personal injuries. An assessment of the boats in the ferry terminal will also be undertaken tomorrow (October 3rd, 2015).

  • Banks, Government offices and schools in Grand Turk, South Caicos and Providenciales are open.

NATIONAL ACTIONS

  • The DDME continues to monitor the situation and is receiving frequent updates from District Commissioners and Community Leaders for Providenciales

  • The following have been placed on standby: Red Cross and ADRA volunteers, Shelter Managers and the Damage Assessment Team

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). Based on the emerging needs, efforts are being undertaken to mobilize other regional operational teams through the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC) and the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA).

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 and contingency arrangements are being made for their deployment in this context.

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.

Through the support of the North Western (Jamaica) Sub-Regional focal point, The West Indies Guard Ship will deliver the following emergency supplies to the three islands previously identified for assistance (Acklin Island, Crooked Island and Mayaguana) tomorrow morning (October 3rd, 2015) from Kingston, Jamaica:

  • 14,000 lbs of cereal products and 85 cases of pasta

  • 1,260 cans of canned meat and vegetables

  • 3000 bottles of water

Tarpaulins, Plastic Sheeting and Blankets are also being packaged for the mission

Personnel to comprise a a Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) is also being put in motion for deployment at the earliest convenience.

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 CDEMA Coordinating Unit activated the Regional Coordinating Center and has developed its Operational Plan for the Regional Response Mechanism in order to ensure that the necessary support for the Islands in the projected path of Hurricane Joaquin is provided in the event of an impact on the Bahamas. The CDEMA Regional Response Strategy is to identify the potential needs of the affected islands; organize the necessary resources available in the region; arrange for additional resources outside the region; and make the necessary arrangement for the deployment and coordination of these resources.

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

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