This post is also available in: Spanish
In less than 24, hours Hurricane Maria has intensified to a Category 5 hurricane after it reached Dominica last night. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are both being advised of a potentially catastrophic strike by the National Hurricane Center, while a hurricane watch is in effect for Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, Anguilla, and in our country from Isla Saona to Puerto Plata. A tropical storm watch has been posted from west of Puerto Plata to the northern Dominican Republic-Haiti border.
To clarify, a hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical storm winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. A tropical storm watch means that the tropical storm conditions are possible within the area, generally within 48h. As per ONAMET at 10:00 a.m. today, Hurricane Maria was located at latitude 16.3 north and longitude 62.9 west; this is about 245 km southeast of Saint Croix and about 650 km east/southeast of Cabo Engaño (La Altagracia) with maximum sustained winds of 260 km/h, and moves west/northwest at about 15 km/h.
Due to the change and category, projections of hurricane-force winds are developing as soon as Wednesday evening in the Dominican Republic, and last night the Emergency Operations Center (COE in Spanish) issued its first alert levels to coordinate an effective response to the passing of Hurricane Maria. They have declared a yellow alert, which means to be prepared, for provinces: La Altagracia, El Seibo, Hato Mayor, Samaná, Espaillat, María Trinidad Sánchez, Puerto plata, Montecristi, La Romana and especially Saona Island. Under green alert, which means to be attentive, are: Santiago Rodríguez, Valverde, La Vega, San Cristóbal, San José de Ocoa, Monseñor Nouel, Santiago, Azua and Dajabón.
We will continue to hope, as when Irma deviated, that we are once again spared, but this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be prepared! See below Costasur’s cautionary measures and stay tuned as we bring you more updates this week— specific details on Casa de Campo’s shelter, likely to take place from Wednesday through Friday, will be announced shortly. You can also check the websites below for more the regular reports, next one will be at 1pm.
As of 11:00 AM AST Tue Sep 19
Location: 16.3°N 63.1°W
Moving: WNW at 10 mph
Min pressure: 927 mb
Max sustained: 160 mph
Information from the National Hurricane Center.
Read Costasur’s Cautionary Measures:
Before the hurricane:
- Pay attention to the official bulletins transmitted by radio, television and written press.
- Prepare a first aid kit with non-perishable food, radio, flashlight, personal documents and medicines.
- Cut branches from trees that could fall off and cause damage.
- Secure doors and windows with additional iron supports that withstand strong winds.
- Secure glass windows with tape, special adhesive paper or plywood to prevent someone from being injured.
- Analyze the probabilities of having to evacuate the home.
- Secure all objects that are not fixed to the floor, such as furniture, appliances, decorative objects, grills, etc.
During the hurricane:
- Keep calm and reassure your family members. An anxious person can make many mistakes.
- Keep gas, light and water disconnected until there is no leakage or danger of a short circuit.
- Avoid being near doors and windows, where there are glass or open spaces.
- Have a potable water supply, first aid kit, flashlight and radio on hand to receive information and instructions from official sources.
- Do not light candles; use battery flashlights.
- If the wind opens a door or window, do not advance towards it frontally.
- Do not go out until authorities inform that the hazard has ended.
After the hurricane:
- Check the house carefully and make sure there is no danger.
- Make sure electrical appliances are dry before connecting them.
- Use the phone only to report emergencies to 911.
- Remove stagnant water to prevent mosquito pests.
- Houses located in front of the sea must keep the security measures for 48 hours.
Important: Prevention begins with us, our family and the community.
GET READY NOW: HURRICANE / STORM PREPARDNESS TIPS!
A few things you should do/get ready now (just in case)…..
1. Prune your garden
It is always safe and a good idea to trim branches from any trees (especially palm trees) near your Casa de Campo villa. Making sure any “dead” or precarious branches are cut down will prevent them blowing off in high winds and causing damage.
2 – Keep informed!
Its important to keep up to date with news concerning the weather forecast! Whilst we at Casa de Campo Living will do our best to keep you informed, we recommend the following for keeping extra-informed:
• www.nhc.noaa.gov – The National Hurricane Centre
• www.weather.com – The Weather Channel
• ONAMET.gov.do – the Dominican Republic’s official weather warning people (this one is in Spanish)
• Twitter: We recommend following NHC_Atlantic – for regular tweets on hurricanes, tropical storms etc
• Facebook: Follow – http://www.facebook.com/US.NOAA.NationalHurricaneCenter.gov
3 – Towels etc for flooding
With so much rain even the nicest, newest Casa de Campo villa is at risk of flooding/leaks – so it’s a good idea to make sure you have a supply of old towels to lay around leaking windows/doors and around any “indoor” gardens/landscaping your home may have.
4 – Prepare a “hurricane kit”
You never know how long a storm/hurricane will take to go away. A good idea is to go to a nearby supermarket and buy some food for at least 3 days (canned food, bottled water, cokes, juices, crackers), as well as medicines normally included in a first aid kit (bandages, cotton, iodine, pain killers, alcohol, batteries, lanterns, candles, matches etc). If a hurricane is coming you don’t want to get to the supermarket and found that they’ve sold out of water!
Click here for a full list of everything you will need.
5. Stock up on strong electrical tape
If a storm is coming it is typical to protect windows/patio doors by putting tape in a “x” across the glass – so it’s a good idea to have some in your house!
6. Where will you go? What will you do?
If a hurricane is coming – you may need somewhere to wait out the storm. It’s a good idea to choose in advance which room will be your “safe room” – select an interior room with no windows, usually a bathroom.
7. If you are NOT at your Casa de Campo villa for hurricane season – make sure in advance that you home is safe.
If you have a villa manager – make sure they know how to prepare your villa for a hurricane or if you don’t it would be a good idea to prepare in advance by bringing all outdoor furniture indoors (including hanging light fixtures), closing shutters/boarding up if you feel it is necessary.
* Images from weather.com and coe.gob.do