Aug. 30, 2004 – With St. Thomas and St. John under a hurricane watch, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull huddled with emergency managers on Monday afternoon to lay preparations for anticipated storm conditions as a result of Hurricane Frances.
Public Works Department crews were directed to begin clearing debris from public roadways and gutters following National Weather Service predictions that three to four inches of rain may fall on the two islands as the Catgory 3 hurricane packing sustained winds of 120 mph passes to the north on Tuesday.
In a radio address, the governor said he had met with officials of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency and other emergency service coordinators after communicating with weather bureau personnel in San Juan.
"It appears that St. Thomas and St. John will receive tropical-force winds gusts within the next 24 to 36 hours as the storm passes," the governor said. "I have been advised that the St. Thomas-St. John district should expect to receive between two to four inches of rainfall, significant sea swells and 40-plus miles per hour of tropical winds.
"At it present course, St. Croix appears outside the reach of the tropical-force winds. Therefore, the National Weather Service in San Juan has not issued a hurricane watch for St. Croix. However, given the unpredictability of hurricanes, we urge all residents of the entire Virgin Islands to follow the progress of this storm."
Meantime, Turnbull said, he has directed all government agencies "to assume a posture of readiness in the event of the need to fully mobilize to address the impact of the passing storm."
He continued: "I have decided to wait until further updates from the weather service in San Juan later today before a decision is made about the opening of schools in the St. Thomas-St. John district tomorrow and the operation of government activities for non-emergency-management purposes.
He urged the community to keep current on the storm's progress via the news media and to "take all necessary precautions. Remember hurricanes can be unpredictable, and things can change quickly."
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