The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, on Friday afternoon cautioned residents to engage in actions of preparedness, despite forecasts of a low or medium level expected impact.
NEMA also issued a special caution to motorists when traversing the Old Road Bay area as there may be a potential for land and rockslides and intermittent crashing waves ashore.
At 5:00am Saturday, Bertha was packing winds of 50 miles per hour, moving West North West, and located at 16.3 degrees Latitude and Longitude 64.9 degrees. The forecast sees the storm strengthening by Monday morning to 60m per hour and on Tuesday to 70m but by then it is believed that it would head out to sea and away from the Northern Leeward Islands.
However, as at 7:00am today Saturday, the seas across St. Kitts and Nevis were locally rough with heights of 1.8 – 2.4m or 6 – 8ft.
Warnings remain in effect for small craft operators and sea bathers against hazardous and dangerous conditions.
The Weather Forecast for St. Kitts & Nevis: Today will be cloudy with a high chance of showers. Some of the showers could be heavy at times. Tonight will be partly cloudy with some light passing showers possible.
Tropical Storm Bertha continues to move rapidly away from the most eastern part of the Eastern Caribbean and is expected to be this morning in the vicinity of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands where tropical storm conditions will prevail for most of the morning. Later in the afternoon and on Saturday night, tropical storm conditions will spread to Hispaniola particularly across the Dominican Republic as Bertha nears and eventually moves across that country.
Meanwhile, some remnant moisture from the storm still lingering in the vicinity of the North eastern Caribbean could result in some showers over the Leeward Islands today. Dry air moving into the rest of the Eastern Caribbean will keep shower activity limited across the Windward Islands, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
Residents are asked to secure or remove any loose objects or debris that may be laying on their property as current wind gusts extending outwards from Bertha’s centre, may have the potential to turn them into projectiles. Likewise Contractors are encouraged to secure job sites for the same reason.
Given that moderate to heavy rainfall is also expected, (2 to 4 inches and up to 4 to 6 inches possible in isolated areas), persons are advised NOT to park vehicles in ghauts or near known waterways, as the potential for flooding is high and can create dangerous situations with little or no further warning.
Residents were also encouraged to tidy up personal surroundings and to ensure that homes are in a state of readiness to weather the impact of the storm. Ensuring that lamps, lamp oil, candles, and a battery operated radio as well as extra batteries will allow persons to keep abreast of the storm’s passage, as updated information becomes available.
“It is also not too late for residents to assess the vulnerabilities in their homes,” according to Public Relations Officer, Vesta Southwell, “to determine whether ‘shuttering’ is an option for them.” Senior Met Officer, Elmo Burke has advised that shuttering may only be necessary if homes are unable to withstand a moderate impact, so individuals are asked to make that judgement based on knowledge of their homes.