By Demion McTair. Updated 7:19 p.m., Thursday, July 1, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has urged the nation to take the impending Tropical Storm Elsa seriously.
The prime minister said that on the present trajectory, the eye of Tropical Storm Elsa may pass over the Northern Grenadines and mainland St. Vincent, or it may veer northwards.
He said that the government is taking the side of caution and the country will be shut down tomorrow, Friday, July 1.
In an address to the nation on Thursday evening, Dr. Gonsalves said that only essential workers and services will be in operation on Friday. That includes those in the health services, police, and utilities.
The prime minister urged interests in the Northern Grenadines, northern St. Vincent, and the entire country to take the necessary precautions.
All ferry services between the mainland and the Grenadines and within the Grenadines areas have been suspended.
All operators of fishing and other vessels are being asked not to go out to sea on Friday, as sea conditions will be very dangerous with swells projected to reach more than 16 feet.
He said that people living close to river valleys should get out now.
He also appealed to people who decided to return to areas above the Rabacca Dry River to take the necessary precautions as lahars can damage properties and take lives.
“Be extremely careful anywhere north of the Rabacca River at this present time,” he said.
The Argyle International Airport will be closed tomorrow, Friday, July 2 and all schools and non-essential businesses will be closed.
Though some 50 shelters are still housing more than 2,000 volcano evacuees, there are still 94 emergency shelters available across St. Vincent and the Grenadines to house people seeking refuge from Tropical Storm Elsa.
In his address, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the emergency shelters will be available from 6:00 a.m. on Friday.
The National Emergency Committee will be in full operation from 6:00 a.m. on Friday.