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August 3, 2012
Tropical depression threatens Windward, Leeward islands

Vincentians are being urged to activate their disaster response plans and to heighten their preparation for possible adverse effects of the weather system which was expected to begin affecting the country sometime this morning.{{more}}

In a release sent by the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) yesterday, the centre of the system is expected to pass north of St Vincent and the Grenadines today.

As of 11 a.m. yesterday, the system was located at 13.0N longitude, 54.3W latitude, with maximum sustained winds at 35 mph and moving west at 20 mph, according to information given to the local meteorological office at the E.T. Joshua Airport, by the National Hurricane Centre in Florida.

Up to midday yesterday, St Vincent and the Grenadines was still under a ‘Tropical Storm Watch’, with storm like conditions expected to begin affecting the country.

The system was expected to become Tropical Storm Ernesto, as it made its way westward to the Windward and Leeward Islands.

The release said a meeting of the National Emergency Council was scheduled for 2 p.m. yesterday at NEMO headquarters, during which time it was expected that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was expected to be activated to coordinate the national response to the threat of the passage of the system.

Personnel at the Roads, Bridges and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) were also engaged in meetings when SEARCHLIGHT contacted them yesterday morning.

Communications Officer Roxtanne Marshall explained that all systems are in place and ready for deployment in the aftermath of the passage of the storm.

Teams were out on Thursday on the lookout for blocked drains and rivers Marshall said.

She indicated that road and assistant road maintenance managers were stationed throughout the country and are on call.

She also said that private heavy equipment operators are also on standby.

Marshall also made an appeal to persons to seek shelter early to minimize any potential serious damage. She made a special appeal for those living in the San Souci area, which has been prone to landslides in the past. (DD)