BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Schools were ordered closed in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Philippe brought heavy rains and flash flooding to these islands while the storm made its way through the northern Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands.
“Due to heavy rainfall overnight associated with Tropical Storm Philippe, the Government of Dominica advises that all schools in Dominica will be closed today,” read an official statement issued in Roseau.
The island’s National Security Minister, Rayburn Blackmoore, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio, said that it was important that students remained at home so as to facilitate the clean-up operations as various landslides had been reported across the island.
In Antigua and Barbuda, Education Minister, Daryll Mathew, has announced that all schools in Antigua and Barbuda will remain closed today as the island deals with several floods.
Mathew emphasised that the Ministry of Education will assess the extent of the damage once the MET office declares the all-clear, noting at this time, it is challenging to determine the full scope of the destruction.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Philippe with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (mph) was located 25 miles north, northeast of Anguilla.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Barbuda, Antigua and Anguilla and the NHC urged interests elsewhere in the northern Leeward Islands to monitor the progress of the system.
“Philippe is moving towards the northwest near eight mph, and this general motion should continue today. A turn toward the north-northwest is forecast by tonight, followed by a northward motion on Wednesday,” the NHC said.
“On the forecast track, the centre of Philippe is expected to move north of the Leeward Islands today. However, the strongest winds and heaviest rains will likely occur in the islands to the south of the centre,” the NHC forecasted.
It said little change in strength is forecast during the next day or two, but Philippe could begin to strengthen after midweek.
Philippe is forecast to produce four to eight inches of rain from Barbuda southward to Dominica with the rest of Leeward Islands and northern Windward Islands receiving between three and five inches of rain.
“Tropical storm conditions are expected in portions of the warning area today. Strong gusty winds are also likely elsewhere in the Leeward Islands today,” the NHC added.