Good morning to all. I’d once again like to begin this message by thanking you the people of the Virgin Islands. Yesterday, we faced the approach of Hurricane Jerry with bravery, kindness and wisdom. As a community, you made the best use of the day and prepared yourselves, your homes and your businesses for the possibility that Hurricane Jerry may change course as so many systems have.
What impressed me the most was the way that so many of you took it a step further and offered yourselves up as resources to your friends and neighbors. You offered your space to those in vulnerable homes. You offered your time and strength to those who needed assistance with their own preparations. Some of you even took to the streets to offer your help to those on-duty essential workers and critical service providers who were carrying out final preparations for the Territory. You truly looked out for and took care of one another. I don’t mind saying I was very moved to see all this.
I am grateful to report that Hurricane Jerry weakened into a tropical storm very early this morning as it passed to the north us. On the advice of the National Emergency Operations Centre and in consultation with the Premier I am issuing the all-clear as of 8am today, September 21st. The National Emergency Operations Centre will de-activate after the team reviews the 11 am update from the international forecasters and issues a local update.
But I caution you all, this all-clear does not mean that we can stop being ready. Forecasters have advised that the ground sea conditions we have been observing in some areas will continue. As such, a high surf advisory remains in place until tomorrow.
What’s more, we are keeping an eye on an Atlantic that is still very active. Forecasters are issuing updates on Invest 99, a system that, should it stay on its current path, could strengthen to a tropical depression and bring some effects to the Territory next week. Beyond that there is another system coming off the coast of Africa. It’s still too far away to accurately predict which islands it could impact, although forecasters agree this system has a 90 percent chance of further development.
In closing I again want to thank you all for doing your part to help the Territory achieve a consistent approach to managing hazard impacts and disasters which involves being cautious, caring, responsible and to always Be Ready.