Monday, Guyana’s national emergency system took the unusual step of asking the low-lying Caribbean Community nation to prepare for Tropical Depression Kirk because it is expected to become a full-scale depression by midweek and could dump tons of rainfall in a country that is normally far away from passing annual hurricanes.
Civil Defense Commission Director Lt. Col Kester Craig said current projections show that Kirk could pass “unusually close to Guyana,” so the agency has taken the abnormal step of asking citizens to take precautionary measures because the current hot and dry conditions could change drastically by midweek.
“There is a possibility of heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and high winds,” Craig said of the current trajectory should the storm pass just outside Guyana’s northern regions.
Craig said preparations would be ramped up by Tuesday if the storm maintains its current path because it would bring problems for Guyana, with heavy rains that could possibly cause flooding.
Several other countries in the general area that do not normally sweat about hurricanes have also put their citizens on alert, including Trinidad, which is the most southerly of all Caribbean islands and just 7 miles off the coast of Venezuela.
Authorities there said they ordered 14 municipalities to closely monitor the development and path of Kirk because its characteristics are definitely showing that it will move from a depression to a full tropical storm. The region is in the peak of the 2018 storm season. Local government minister, Kazim Hosein, urged the nation to both pray and prepare.
“We may not be affected by this tropical storm, but we must do what we can to safeguard our loved ones and homes,” he said. “I encourage people to take note of the disaster management hotlines that are in place for emergency use, to keep monitoring the news to be informed of further developments and to put together their emergency kits with reserves of water and other necessities in case they are needed. Along with the rest of the nation, I pray that we are not affected and hope that the system weakens and veers away from the island chain altogether, but we are getting organized just in case.”
Officials said that maximum winds as of Monday had reached approximately 40 miles per hour, with much stronger gusts. That is the reason authorities in both Guyana and neighboring Trinidad fear that the two nations could be affected by strong gusts from outer bands. Both nations are normally outside the damage area of annual hurricanes because hurricanes are not yet fully developed so far south in the Atlantic.
Ahead of Kirk is tropical depression No. 11, but officials say it is expected to dissipate later in the week because it is poorly organized.
Kirk is expected to reach close to the small island nations of the Eastern Caribbean by Thursday or Friday. Some of these had horrible experiences from mega-storms Irma and Maria last year and barely escaped Florence in early September. Florence battered the Carolinas and dumped heavy rains on several Eastern Seaboard states in the U.S.