St Lucia residents urged to be vigilant as Atlantic weather system approaches

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CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Wednesday July 30, 2014, CMC – The St. Lucia government Wednesday urged citizens to remain vigilant as the island prepares for a low pressure system that weather officials predict could become the region’s first major cyclone for the 2014 hurricane season.

“I urge St Lucians to monitor closely the approaching weather system, we can’t afford to be caught off guard, let us remain alert at this time and throughout the hurricane season,” Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony said in a statement.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Showers and thunderstorms associated with an area of low pressure located about 1000 miles east of the southern Windward Islands have been gradually decreasing since yesterday. “However, environmental conditions are marginally conducive for the development of this system into a tropical depression during the next couple of days. while it moves generally west-northwestward near 15 mph,” the NHC said, urging residents in the Lesser Antilles to monitor the progress of this system.

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Last December, at least five people were killed and St. Lucia suffered millions of dollars in losses after a low level trough system caused widespread damage also in neighbouring islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.

“Weather is an unpredictable force. We are still recovering from the destruction and loss of life caused by Hurricane Tomas of 2010 and the 2013 Christmas Eve trough.

“As an experienced people, it is expected that our preparations for the 2014 Hurricane Season are complete and well in place,” Prime Minister Anthony said.

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Meanwhile, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is also urging nationals to be prepared for the weather system.

“You must check your surroundings, check your communities, unblock the blocked culverts, cut the overhanging trees, if there is a waterway at the back of your home, unblock it so that it can flow properly,” Skerrit told Parliament on Tuesday night.

“We can minimize on the damage caused by natural disasters by as much as 80 per cent,” he said, noting that resources to conduct repair works after natural disasters are “difficult to come by.

““All of our development partners have their own challenges so in time of disaster it is very difficult to raise financing required to respond. So let us understand that we need to first protect our homes and then our neighbors and the wider community,” Skerrit added.

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