Antigua has faced the brunt of Tropical Storm Philippe, as it brought storm force winds, perilous lightning strikes, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. The worst portion of the storm came by last night and lasted till early in the morning.
The storm destroyed homes, especially in low lying areas and caused significant damage to many businesses. In fact, it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Philippe left a destructive trail in its wake.
A specific incident which has shocked many was when a lightening bolt struck a building in English Harbour. The lightening strike caused a massive fire which left 100 people with out jobs.
The entire building, which included a gym, grocery store, restaurant, and more was set ablaze by the strike and eventually burnt down. The high-speed winds which were passing through the area, fanned the fire and made it close to impossible for firefighters to control the blaze.
Severe floods, coupled with power outages forced many residents to evacuate their homes which complicated the situation further.
Shelters have continued to provide refuge to citizens from low lying areas as they were forced to evacuate from their homes suddenly and low-lying areas are still at risk.
The flooding wreaked havoc for emergency personnel who had to deal with overwhelming numbers of search and rescue cases. With in a short period of time, rescue workers had to respond to 33 emergency calls. The harsh conditions and flooding made the task harder still.
Ironically, Barbuda saw minimal flooding and seemed immune to the element to a certain extent.
Thankfully though, as the sun came out in the morning, the conditions began to clear up. When the weather cleared up completely, the Tropical Storm warning on Antigua was lifted.
As of 5 pm, Tropical Storm Philippe has started moving away from the British Virgin Islands. Interests in Bermuda have been advised to monitor the progress of Philippe though, as it could have an influence on the area as it continues on its trajectory.
According to the US National Hurricane Center in Miami, as of 5 pm, Philippe was about 85 miles North of St Thomas and 875 miles South of Bermuda.
The NHC has avoided placing a coastal watch or warning on Bermuda but ha warned people to be cautious and try to save their interests before the storm arrives.
At 5 pm AST (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Philippe was located near latitude 19.6 North, longitude 64.9 West.
Philippe is now moving northwest at roughly 12 mph (19 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue through the night.
The storm is set to turn north-northwest on Wednesday, followed by a faster motion toward the north on Thursday and Friday according to the latest forecast.