by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Tropical Storm Philippe pummeled the Lesser Antilles early Tuesday morning, October 03, the first storm to impact the islands for the 2023 Hurricane Season.
Elmo Burke, Senior Meteorologist at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport, said though St. Kitts and Nevis have been experiencing showers and thunderstorm activity, more is left to be experienced into the afternoon.
“We are experiencing some inclement weather as a result of the feeder bands from Tropical Storm Philippe. We experienced quite a bit of showers and thunderstorms within the earlier part of the morning. However, most persons were awoken to gusty conditions across the Federation and overcast conditions. In certain parts of the islands, we experienced some sustained rain bands. However, in other parts, we had a lot of rainfall activity. So what we are anticipating based on what we are looking at in terms of the radar as well as additional instability pushing into the area at around midday. So we are likely to get increased thunderstorm activity along with some showers. These showers may be moderate to heavy. Already at the airport, we have recorded in excess of an inch overnight, and it’s highly likely that our rain gauges in the countryside (Sandy Point to Dieppe Bay) Those rain gauges received higher totals and we recognise that we had some intense rainfall from after 3:00 this morning up till about after 5:00 thereabout. We would anticipate that the rainfall in those areas was higher. So, we are asking the general public to exercise extreme caution when using the roadways, recognising that the soil is already saturated. We are expecting additional showers and thunderstorms at noon and into the afternoon.”
National Disaster Coordinator, Mr Abdias Samuel, said a number of reports were made on the island of St. Kitts.
“We have been receiving a number of reports in terms of interruption and challenges with essential services. St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) would have encountered challenges in certain areas of the country, more in the rural areas and some other areas in the city; that is due to the weather conditions that we are experiencing at this point. For instance, in front of (National Emergency Management Agency) NEMA, there was a lamppost on fire that has been addressed. We know that some of the service providers [like] the telecommunications service providers are also experiencing some challenges. For example, internet service has been interrupted in some areas as well. So we are getting all these reports. We are also getting reports of down trees in some areas, as well as debris in many areas around the island. So that is being addressed as we speak, and the service providers are working collaboratively with one another to address the concerns that have been raised and faced from the impact of the inclement weather system.”
Meanwhile, on Nevis, Mr Brian Dyer, Director at the Nevis Disaster Management Department, said no known major damages were experienced, but as the day progresses, further assessments will be executed.
“Nevis experienced some gusty winds overnight, as the Tropical Storm Phillipe passed to the North within 55 miles North of Nevis, based on our calculations. The island fared well. There are some minor damages to light items such as tents and banana trees, etc. There are a few reports of roofing damage; persons suffered loss of shingles in some areas, but generally, the country fared well. We are conducting our assessments from various sectors: the tourism sector [and] the transportation sector. We anticipate there is some damage to the beaches because there are high surfs as well. So operations from the Charlestown Port have been halted.”
The Government announced the closure of the schools and early closure of workplaces in the Federation.
Impacts from Tropical Storm Philippe were felt in St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Guadeloupe, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla and St. Maarten, as Phillipe, dropped lots of heavy rains and brought excess flooding to low-lying areas.