The acting commissioner of the Bureau for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration (Nmead), Nino Correa, asked citizens not to lower their guard in the face of tropical storm Laura on the island.
“The situation In (tropical storm) Isaías, one of the most difficult events we experienced was flooding in unexpected places… the other was people who are exposed to potential dangers, ”Correa said. “This is not the weekend to go to the river, this is not the time to do it.”
The National Hurricane Center (CNH) issued a tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the US Virgin Islands . All of Puerto Rico falls within the cone of uncertainty in this new bulletin.
The outgoing Secretary of State, Elmer Román, reported that Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced will wait for the 5:00 p.m. bulletin. to decide whether to issue an emergency declaration on the island prior to the passage of the atmospheric system.
For his part, the director of the National Meteorological Service (SNM), Roberto García, explained that Laura could leave up to eight inches of rain in isolated places. He pointed out that the island is no longer under a drought —as happened with Isaías—, so the floods could occur faster.
“The bulk of this rain is expected precisely between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. . In other words, it would be an event that could be again during the night … The general public has to understand that at night it is difficult to see the reaction of the streams or if there are landslides on the roads ”, he stated.
The winds sustained over the Island could vary between 35 to 45 miles per hour (mph). Meanwhile, gusts over land, particularly in high areas and the east coast of the island, could reach 55 mph.
“The wind takes on an importance in that sense, because gusts can cause tree branches – and even trees— fall and damage the power lines and communication lines, ”he added.
García indicated that Vieques and Culebra could begin to feel the impact of the storm as of midnight, while the sustained winds in the Big Island could start just before sunrise. The gusts could be felt much earlier.
There are 324 shelters available on the island, which will be opened as long as the mayors request them. At the moment, only the opening of a shelter has been requested.
Fines for those who fail to comply
At the press conference from the headquarters of the Nmead, the secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP) , Pedro Janer, affirmed that the 13 police areas are already clear in the instructions to follow during the passage of the atmospheric event.
“Any person found not to be wearing the mask will be arrested and will be fined. This time the fine will be more severe … Unfortunately for the People of Puerto Rico, there will no longer be any further guidance, ”said Janer.
The initial fine for those who violate the order of social distancing and use of a mask will be $ 100. Janer explained that the fined person will have 72 hours to pay, or otherwise, the fine will rise to $ 200.
“We need to lower the incidence of Covid and we need to capture the attention of citizens in Puerto Rico… We need the cooperation of the public, we are not on an oversight mission, but we have to draw attention in some way, "added Janer.
Tropical Storm Laura maintains winds of 45 mph, moving 18 mph toward the west-northwest, according to the Most recent newsletter at 2:00 pm It is located at latitude 17.0 north, longitude 60.8 west.