Tropical Storm Fiona spared St Martin… 

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The day after its passage, this Saturday, September 17, 2022, little damage caused by tropical storm Fiona was observed in the territory of Saint-Martin. Throwback to this weekend which was placed in orange vigilance.

Particularly attentive to the evolution of tropical storm Fiona, which was categorized as a hurricane by Météo France at the end of the weekend, Vincent Berton, delegate prefect of the Northern Islands, held three press briefings on Friday September 16 at 10:30 a.m. and at 18 p.m. and Saturday September 17 at 9 a.m. During this last point, the Prefect declared: “The night was rather calm, few interventions by the firefighters and the gendarmerie in Saint-Martin, as in Saint-Barthélemy. Wind, a lot of wind, with peaks up to 120km/h, (…) little damage caused to the island and the houses, apart from tree branches on the road, for example”. Fortunately, no impact was observed on the population of Saint-Martin. Vincent Berton also thanked all the citizens for their spirit of vigilance and their discipline in the face of the approach of tropical storm Fiona whose forecasts announced marked precipitation with 50 to 80mm of cumulative rain, waves of up to 4m. high with a south-easterly swell and sustained winds averaging 60 to 70 km/h with gusts occasionally reaching 100 to 120 km/h. During the night from Friday to Saturday, gusts of 66 km / h were recorded in Marigot, 97 km / h in Grand-Case and 113 km / h in Gustavia, Saint-Barthélemy. Having declared orange vigilance at the start of the day last Friday for heavy rains/storms, waves-submersion and violent winds, Vincent Berton immediately signed a prefectural decree prohibiting swimming, the practice of water sports and maritime traffic until Sunday 18 September. Average troughs reached up to 3m50 during the passage of storm Fiona. Airports and schools were also closed on Friday. 

With easterly winds turning south, the east coast of the island was particularly exposed to the weather phenomenon. The services concerned carried out vigilance based on the districts of Cul-de-Sac, Quartier d'Orléans and Orient Bay. Not minimizing the potential danger of tropical storm Fiona, the first major storm since the start of the 2022 hurricane season, all the emergency services have reinforced their resources, police, firefighters and hospital, so that everyone can react when needed. During the night from Friday to Saturday, electrical problems occurred in the neighborhoods of Oyster Pond, Quartier d'Orléans, Sandy Ground, Baie Nettlé and Grand-Case. The restoration was carried out by EDF on Saturday morning.

This Saturday, September 17, the day after the passage of storm Fiona, Louis Mussington, president of the Collectivity of Saint-Martin, went to several neighborhoods to meet the inhabitants, such as Sandy Ground, Grand-Case, Hameau du Pont in Marigot, Colombier or even Agrément. Displacements which were greeted by the Saint-Martin population. 

 

… but not Guadeloupe. Basse-Terre heavily impacted by the storm, one death declared.

The center of storm Fiona was over Guadeloupe this Friday, September 16, 2022 at 18 p.m. causing considerable damage linked to flooding and rising water levels which reached 1m50 in places.

The situation is serious for certain municipalities, roads cut, landslides, significant material damage, devastated sections, several dozen people to be rehoused. The president of the Departmental Council of Guadeloupe, Guy Losbar, accompanied by departmental advisers, mayors and authorities, was on the ground alongside the population this Saturday morning, declaring "it is indisputably a natural disaster which will require the implementation implementation of a genuine reconstruction plan. The latter has already asked the Government for recognition of the state of natural disaster, the establishment of the relief fund and solid support from the authorities alongside the local communities who are hard at work. At 5:30 a.m. this Saturday, the firefighters of Guadeloupe counted 130 interventions, the majority of which were in the south of Basse-Terre. “These are mainly people who feel threatened by the rising waters and who need to be brought to safety,” said Colonel Frédéric Lhomme, deputy departmental director of the Guadeloupe fire department, on Saturday. 23 people were rescued. “It is above all the Basse-Terre area that is impacted, there are a lot of streams and rivers there and therefore problems with floods and floods”, testified Guy Losbar the same day. A first death is to be deplored, it is a 54-year-old man. His house, located in a district of the commune of Basse-Terre, was swept away by the flooding of the Rivière des Pères caused by the storm. The lifeless body of its occupant was found. Guy Losbar sent in his personal name and on behalf of all departmental elected officials his most sincere condolences to the family of the victim. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, said on Sunday: “After storm Fiona, my thoughts are with Guadeloupe, with our swept away compatriot and all the inhabitants affected. The state of natural disaster will be recognized and the overseas relief fund mobilized. I asked the minister delegate  [in charge of Overseas Territories, Jean-François Carenco] to go there. »

Louis Mussington, president of the Collectivity of Saint-Martin, expressed his greatest support for Guadeloupe: “Our friends from Guadeloupe have been greatly affected by storm Fiona. 

We show them all the solidarity of the Collectivity of Saint-Martin and its inhabitants. Our sincere condolences go to the loved ones of the man who lost his life in Basse-Terre. We also have a heartfelt thought for all the victims who will have to rebuild. The territory of Saint-Martin was spared by Fiona but we know how difficult it is to overcome such an ordeal. In these circumstances, the Saint-Martinois are by your side. Strength and courage to all Guadeloupeans. » 

Fiona continued her devastating journey in winds of up to 140km/h and  pouring torrential rains on Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon, notably depriving the American island of electricity. The hurricane was heading towards the Dominican Republic on Monday. _VX

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