Amidst fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbados is now bracing itself for the arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa.
The system is expected to arrive on island by Friday (July 2) at 2 A.M.
In a press conference on Thursday (July 1) Prime Minister Mia Mottley who called the storm “a threat to Barbados” urged those who lost shelter in last month’s mesoscale cyclones to seek housing in public shelters available across the island.
“I am appealing to all Barbadians who know that their houses are vulnerable, who are not sure what would happen if the roof went off or if you were one of the one hundred and sixty five houses that was damaged two weeks ago in the freak storm. I am appealing to you in those circumstances it is better to be safe than sorry and therefore I am [appealing to you to head to our shelters]. If you have family that you can go by that is the best place to be. I encourage you to make use of the shelters that we have,” Mottley said.
The Ministry of Health announced that there will be no mandatory COVID-19 testing to enter and exit the shelters; however Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George explained that mask wearing and physical distancing will be in effect.
The storm is expected to have increased wind speed by the time it reaches Barbados.
Acting Director of the Barbados Meteorological Office Sabu Best explained that by the time Elsa reaches the south of Barbados, maximum sustained winds will be about 60 miles per hour.
“At this stage there is no indication that Tropical Elsa will rapidly gain strength because of the rapid forward motion of the system. There is, however, potential for Elsa to strengthen slowly as she moves towards the west,” said Best.
As a result of the passing tropical storm, the Ministry of Education also announced that CXC Examinations will not take place.