Tropical Storm Karen has been downgraded to a depression and is starting to “jog” more to the west, with the epicenter now passing, at its closest point to the U.S. Virgin Islands, near Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr. said Monday.
Calling a news conference at 5:30 p.m., the governor said public schools and government offices will still be closed Tuesday, but no curfew will be in effect. Still, he cautioned residents to “use their best judgement” when heading out on the roads Tuesday as rain – between two to four inches and as much as eight inches in isolated areas – is still expected and could exacerbate conditions that are already saturated and prone to mudslides.
“We expect tonight to see scattered showers, with the highest intensity of the storm coming late tomorrow afternoon. So, it’s going to be a very, very wet Tuesday and we expect rain into Wednesday and Thursday,” the governor said.
Given that storms in general are prone to shifts and can quickly strengthen, Bryan added that local emergency call centers are ready to be activated, along with shelters, at “a moment’s notice.”
At 5 p.m., the storm’s maximum sustained winds had dropped to 35 miles per hour and it was located 135 miles southwest of St. Croix, moving north at 13 miles per hour.
“We’ve had a number of these events now and I know it’s like the little boy who cried wolf, but I’m urging the public to remain ever vigilant. We have another formation behind this too that is tracking northward and hopefully it will stay on that course, but we still need to be ready,” he said.
Bryan said for the last storm, the government gave away 18,000 sandbags and he encouraged residents to keep them safe and in good shape so they can be used for any potential future events.