Weather Alert for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands – Tropical Storm Laura

[Updated August 21, 2020 @ 4:00 pm]

Tropical Storm Laura: Development and Progress as of August 21, 2020 at 11:00am

The National Hurricane Center (www.nhc.noaa.gov) has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands for Saturday and Sunday (August 22 and 23). The NHC also advises that Tropical Storm Laura could bring storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts to portions of The Bahamas early next week. U.S. citizens residing and traveling in this region should be alert to flooding.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

Tropical storms can escalate into hurricanes very quickly, limiting the time available for a safe evacuation. Travelers should apprise family and friends in the United States of their whereabouts, and keep in close contact with their tour operator, hotel staff, and local officials for evacuation instructions in the event of a weather emergency. Travelers should also protect their travel and identity documents against loss or damage, as the need to replace lost documentation could hamper or delay return to the United States.

Actions to Take

The U.S. Embassy advises all U.S. citizens living in and/or visiting this region take certain basic precautions in preparation for a possible storm.

Supplies and Preparation:

  • If you are living in this region: Ensure you have adequate supplies of food, water, medications, and other essential supplies on hand. It is not unusual for stores and shops to close before, during, and after a hurricane. Check your generators and make sure you have an adequate supply of fuel; cut down any dead foliage and remove any debris around your home; secure any items that could become dangerous flying objects (patio furniture, umbrellas, barbeques, etc.); have the tools and supplies on hand to secure your house (plywood, nails, shutters, etc.) Upper floors in high-rise buildings are at increased risk of windows being blown out, due to the fact that wind speed increases with height.
  • If you are a tourist, talk to your hotel front desk to learn about the hotel’s emergency plan for a hurricane. Notify your family and friends of your whereabouts and your plans until the storm passes.  Be sure to have an adequate supply of necessary prescriptions and medications on hand.

During the Storm:

  • Do not go outside, flying debris is lethal;
  • Do not watch the storm from beaches as storm surge, riptides, and rogue waves are hazardous;
  • Stay inside in an interior room of your residence (bathroom, large closet, or pantry). Choose a room with little or no windows that is located away from the exterior wall of the residence;
  • Stay off your home/cell phone and radio. Keep all means of communication available for an emergency;
  • If a member of your family sustains an injury during the storm, report the injury and degree of severity to the local authorities as soon as possible.

U.S. citizens in The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos should monitor local radio, the National Weather Service and local media to stay aware of any weather developments in their area. The U.S. Embassy will update this emergency message if new information becomes available.

U.S. citizens should also stay current with media coverage of local events, weather and marine forecasts, and monitor the National Hurricane Center, The Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency and local media to stay aware of any weather developments in their area. For official information from the Bahamian and TCI governments regarding weather conditions, please monitor ZNS or other local media outlets.

Additional information on hurricanes and storm preparedness may be found on our Hurricane Season-Know Before You Go webpage, and on the Natural Disasters page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Updated information on travel in The Bahamas may also be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada, or from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Please continue to monitor the Embassy’s website for updated information.

For Assistance in The Bahamas

Emergency Numbers for Consular Affairs in the United States

  • State Department – Consular Affairs
    1-888-407-4747 (when dialing from within the U.S.)
    +1 (202) 501-4444 (when dialing from overseas)

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