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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Vieques prepares for effects of Hurricane Beryl’s passage to the south

By The Star Staff

Vieques Mayor José “Junito” Corcino Acevedo announced Monday the preventive activation of the Emergency Operations Center (COE by its initials in Spanish) with the passage of powerful Hurricane Beryl, which is expected to pass between 250 and 300 miles south of Puerto Rico beginning this morning.

Under preventive activation, the COE begins its work expeditiously.

Dangerous swells and riptides were expected from the storm in southern Puerto Rico.

“Since last week we have monitored the development of Hurricane Beryl and its trajectory. Although experts indicate that this impressive atmospheric phenomenon will pass about 300 miles south of the island, we made the decision to activate, as a preventive measure, the COE of the municipality of Vieques,” Corcino Acevedo said in a press release. “Our COE, which has the latest technology, as well as the trained personnel to handle any situation, is ready to attend to any emergency that may occur with the passage of this historic hurricane through the south.”

Corcino added that the offshore island municipality has the María M. Simons school facilities to serve as a shelter in case of an emergency.

The Vieques COE is located in the old Mercedes de Ruiz (Milivy) school in the Santa María neighborhood.

“Our COE is made up of elements of the municipal police, the emergency corps of the municipality, as well as state agencies such as the departments of Public Safety, Family, Education -- for the shelters -- and Health, in addition to the Bureaus of Police, Firefighters and Medical Emergencies,” the mayor added. “We also have liaisons with the National Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as the federal government’s Fish and Wildlife Service. We have first-class radio frequency communication systems and all-terrain vehicles for emergency interventions.”

The COE also has a 30-ton emergency electrical generator system and a second backup system based on solar technology that would provide electricity to the COE uninterruptedly.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, the eye of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 12.8 North, longitude 62.3 West. The Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 150 miles per hour (240 kilometers per hour), with higher gusts, was moving toward the west-northwest at near 20 mph (31 km/h), having made landfall in the Windward Islands early Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center (see related story on page 9).

The center of Beryl was to move away from the southern Windward Islands on Monday night and pass swiftly westward to west-northwestward during the next few days. On the forecast track, the center of Beryl was to move across the southeastern and central Caribbean Sea from Monday night through Wednesday.

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