Puerto Rico prepares for hurricane Irma
(September 3, 2017 – Caguas, Puerto Rico) Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, asked the public to be aware of the trajectory of Hurricane Irma, a system that may be passing through the local area at noon on Wednesday.
The director of the National Meteorological Service (SNM, per its Spanish acronym), Roberto García, reported that the island is likely to be experiencing tropical storm winds and between four and eight inches of rain. However, forecasts could vary and category 1 hurricane winds could be experienced, especially on the North and East coasts, including the islands of Culebra and Vieques.
Given this, the Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management (AEMEAD, per its Spanish acronym) is tasked with coordinating the work of the interagency group that is monitoring the trajectory of the tropical system.
The director of AEMEAD, Abner Gómez, informed that the phone line 787 724-0124 will be available to provide information related to the shelters and orientation due to the passage of the atmospheric system.
The governor informed that as part of the contingency preparations, the secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Family Affairs, Glorimar Andújar, advanced the payment of the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN, per its Spanich acronym) to 160 thousand beneficiaries, for a total of $65 million. In addition, 5.4 million pounds of contingency food was identified for this population and its distribution, which is authorized by the federal government.
The Puerto Rico Housing secretary, Fernando Gil, reported that there are 456 shelters prepared in the entire island with capacity for 62,100 people and the list of shelters was updated after the closure of some schools.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), Ricardo Ramos, said that the main transmission lines have been inspected or "patrolled" and that the trimming of trees in critical areas is being worked on.
Ramos said that "the Emergency Plan is activated and all operational areas will report to work tomorrow."
The secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA, per its Spanish acronym), Tania Vázquez, activated the flood control plan in the different pumping stations.
During the meeting today—the third for this group since the formation of the atmospheric system—the secretary of State, Luis Rivera Marín; the chief of staff, William Villafañe; the secretary of Public Affairs and Public Policy, Ramón Rosario; the secretary of the Department of Public Safety, Héctor Pesquera; the superintendent of the Police, Michelle Hernández; and the deputy director of the Port Authority, Nelson Pérez, were present.
FEMA Caribbean Area Division Director, Alejandro De La Campa, also attended the meeting.