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U.S. Virgin Islands Emergency Management Director Discusses Weather Conditions Under Hurricane DebbyAired August 22, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Debby may seem downright dainty when you compare that to the super typhoon hitting Taiwan. But this minimal hurricane does bear a certain amount of watching. Right now, the storm is over St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Joining us on the telephone, Colonel Gene Walker, emergency management director for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Colonel, how are things there right now?
COL. GENE WALKER, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Good afternoon.
Things are right now, as you just pointed out -- the eye is over the Virgin Islands as we speak, the southeast part of the eye wall. And it's raining quite profusely right now on the island of St. John. We have had some problems on the northern part of St. Thomas where there is heavy winds. Not that heavy, really. They're between 20 to 35 sustained winds, but gust of up to 45 and 50 miles per hour. We are expecting heavy rains this afternoon, and some flooding is expected also.
SAVIDGE: Is it the rain and the flooding that is your biggest concern right now from this storm?
WALKER: That is absolutely so, and we are adequately prepared to deal with that. Our governor has issued a curfew as of last night. And that curfew, of course, will not be lifted until we actually have the all-clear. We have approximately 53 people in shelters throughout the territory.
The island of St. Croix is OK. The storm didn't actually affect that area at all, so that area is open for business.
SAVIDGE: This hurricane season was slow to get started. What's the attitude of people on the islands there? Were they reluctant to take action? Do they feel that this is not something, really, to worry about?
WALKER: Well, not at all. This has been a rather proactive type of approach as far as the residents are concerned. This agency has been instructing its residents throughout the year concerning the precautionary measures that they needed to take. And, indeed, they actually took heed to that and were very well prepared for any disasters that might have been coming this way.
SAVIDGE: All right, Colonel Gene Walker. He's the emergency management director for the U.S. Virgin Islands. We wish you and the people of the Virgin Islands well with the hurricane.
WALKER: Thank you so very much.
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