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Ottley urges businesses to close early for workers' safety

“Torrential rainfall may result in flooding in some areas”

Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunication (TEATT), the honorable Omar Ottley, issued an urgent advisory to businesses, especially those in the low-lying area, to exercise caution and possibly close early for their safety and that of their staff.

This evening, Minister Ottley's release came around 8:00 pm as several areas on St. Maarten started experiencing signs of potential flooding. Although the Government has not issued a mandatory close order, this advisory was given mainly to the business community, in particular, to consider their workers who may need to get home to secure their families and belongings.

"We ask all business owners to use their discretion with their employees. If your businesses are in low laying areas, we advise you to take precautions and possibly close to ensure the safety of everyone," Said Minister Ottley.

According to the release, heavy rainfall in St. Maarten is causing flash flooding in some low lying areas and rock falls along hillsides. As such, motorists should also avoid areas known for rock falls and floods. "Residents in areas prone to flooding are also advised to act responsibly and take all necessary

precautions until the water levels subside." Said Minister Ottley.

These areas are L.B. Scott Road from Emilio Wilson Park to Cake House Supermarket, Zagers gut from Petro Plus Gas Station until the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Welgelegen Road, Cay Hill from Welgelegen Road Roundabout until the One Tete Loke Roundabout, Beacon Hill Road from Sunset Bar and Grill until the beginning of White Sands Road, and Rhine Road also known as Mullet Bay Road, after Sonesta Maho Beach Hotel to the entrance of Cupecoy from the intersection of University Drive until the corner of Rio Grande.

The Meteorological Department of St. Maarten also stated at 6:00 pm this evening that a combination of favourable mid- to upper-level conditions and a low-pressure system would maintain abundant moisture and instability through the weekend and into early next week. As a result, cloudy to overcast skies can occur with scattered showers, thunderstorms, and gusty winds across the local area. Heavy rains may lead to flooding in vulnerable areas. Consequently, a flood watch is in effect for St. Maarten.

The advisory also states moderate to rough seas are expected throughout the weekend. A small craft advisory is in effect for St. Maarten, as waves are predicted to peak at 10 feet. Sea users and persons with interest along the coast should exercise caution.