In a telephone press conference called Wednesday afternoon by Gov. John deJongh Jr., Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty said that the 7 p.m. ferries between St. Thomas and St. John will be the last for the day.
“The marine ports are closed at 8 p.m.,” Doty said, indicating the ferries need several hours to be secured.
She said there are 4,500 visitors across the territory, with 700 of them on St. Croix.
At the press conference, Doty said LIAT canceled flights for Wednesday and Seaborne Airlines said it will not operate its 4:45 p.m. flight from St. Croix. She called later to say that American Airlines afternoon flight from Miami to St. Thomas was cancelled, which means the morning flight from St. Thomas to Miami will not run because the plane overnights on St. Thomas. Doty said the airlines will decide Wednesday afternoon about Thursday operations. She said the airports will remain open as long as flights continue to arrive.
No cruise ships are expected for the rest of the week, and Doty said Allure of the Seas cancelled its scheduled Wednesday call.
Isaac’s center is expected to pass 53 miles south southwest of St. Croix Thursday morning. The governor said the island should experience seven hours of tropical storm force winds on Thursday, with St. Thomas and St. John experiencing less severe conditions. By early Wednesday afternoon, conditions across the territory were beginning to deteriorate as Isaac’s outer bands dropped occasional rain and cloudy skies moved in.
In other Isaac news, deJongh said government workers on St. Croix will get Thursday off because the island will get a greater impact from Isaac, but those on St. Thomas and St. John must report to work. However, if conditions warrant, the governor said he’d send them home.
“And I see no need to impose a curfew,” deJongh said.
Human Services Commissioner Christopher Finch said the Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged will open its shelter at 7 p.m. Wednesday. He said there are no current plans to open shelters on St. Thomas and St. John, but if the need arises, the Red Cross will do so.
According to Finch, Human Services staff Wednesday delivered two meals on wheels to seniors on St. Croix and St. John to make sure they have sufficient food during the storm. He said emergency clients on St. Thomas also received two meals.
John Long, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the agency has 95,000 liters of water and 82,000 meals as well as infant and toddler supplies in the territory or on the way.
Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said crews are out on St. Croix making sure guts are cleared to facilitate the flow of water. He also said sandbags are being distributed on all three islands.