The Storm Preparedness Command Committee, comprised of all the key people in each field of preparedness in case of a tropical storm or a hurricane, met the afternoon of July 9, prompted by the possible arrival of Tropical Storm Chantal. The meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s Office with the attendance of MP Renardo Curry, and was chaired by Administrator Preston Cunningham. The Port Authority, the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, the Road Traffic Department, The Fire and Rescue Services, the Department of Social Services, The Customs and Immigration Services as well as the Police, the Department of Education, the Ministry of Works, the Airport, BEC and the Red Cross were all represented.
The Administrator identified the storm shelters and asked the proper people in charge to confirm the state of those shelters and if any repairs were to be taken care of. Dr. Lenora Black informed the Administrator that inspection had been done at Central Abaco Primary School and that the generators were fixed, but Sarone Kennedy with the Red Cross stated the contrary. The administrator demanded that the problems with the generators, if any, be addressed.
It was mentioned that St. Francis de Sales could not be used as a shelter this year again because of roof condition, but all the shelters that were used last year during Hurricane Sandy could be used again this year. On the list besides Central Abaco Primary School, are Abaco Central High School and Friendship Tabernacle Church.
The Administrator expressed his concern about the senior citizens, the weak and the handicapped who would need to be evacuated and requested that Ms. Miller at Social Services give him a list of these people. He also asked that persons with higher vehicles, such as members of the Police, the Royal Defense Force, BEC and BTC be on call in case of evacuation. Administrator Cunningham also inquired about flooding areas and was assured that all the drains had been cleared.
MP Renardo Curry reiterated the necessity that each command center have cell phones ready, including satellite phones; the satellite number for the Ministry of Tourism is 00881641431600. Those in charge of shelters were told that the shelter managers could be provided with water and food but to remind them to bring personal supplies. People seeking refuge are to bring their own personal supplies including food, water, blankets and pillows.
The administrator also reminded the Command Center Committee members to bring pillows, water, coffee and food. Pastor Mills was asked for his forecast about TS Chantal, and he said that the storm should approach Abaco late Friday and pass over the island Saturday. He reassured the command members that the storm should not be too bad, and predicted 45 to 50 miles per hour winds and relatively light rain, mentioning that the weather should pick up with the high tide around 11:00 p.m. on Friday. He added that the hurricane season is expected to be above normal, with 17 named storms, of which three to four are predicted to be strong hurricanes.