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Dominica prepares for passage of Hurricane Isaac

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) – Dominica, still recovering from the battering it took from Hurricane Maria last September, is preparing for the passage of Hurricane Isaac that meteorological officials say could pass near or over the island by Wednesday night.

Acting Prime Minister Reginald Austrie told a news conference that while residents should not panic, they should nonetheless take all precautions to prevent a recurrence of the death and destruction caused by Maria when it slammed into the island on September 18.

“We want everyone to continue making final preparations for the arrival of Isaac. Please stock up on food and water for at least three days and all other items which the National Disaster Office has been advising you to have on hand,” Austrie said.

He said as the authorities continued to assess the situation, a decision may be taken today on several matters including the possible suspension of schools and a reduced period of working hours.

“This will be communicated by the local media from the Disaster Preparedness Office. If and when that information is provided I am calling on all residents to remain indoors as much as possible and anyone found uselessly loitering in the streets will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.

He said essential workers, including police and health professionals would be required to be on duty, but urged them “not to take any undue risk”.

He said as a result of the damage caused by Maria last year, the island does not have its full complement of shelters but emergency shelters across the island would be opened by Wednesday.

“Let me urge all Dominicans to please respect the emergency shelters, particularly at this time when we are using private homes and some public buildings. The use of those buildings can determine how quickly we can return to normalcy following any storm”.

Meanwhile, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that there is little change in the strength of Hurricane Isaac that has winds of 75 miles per hour and moving closer towards the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles.

“The centre of Hurricane Isaac was located near latitude 14.7 North, longitude 43.9 West. Isaac was moving towards the west near 14 mph. A westward motion with a slight increase in forward speed is expected through the end of the week. On the forecast track, Isaac should move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday,” the NHC said.

It added that maximum sustained winds were near 75 mph with higher gusts.

“Additional strengthening was expected over the next day or two. Weakening is forecast to begin by the middle of the week as Isaac approaches the Lesser Antilles.”

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