Effects of Hurricane Ivan in The Lesser Antilles and South America - Preparations


Early in the duration of the storm, the National Hurricane Center consistently forecast Ivan to track further to the north than it eventually did. Late on September 5, the government of Barbados issued a hurricane watch for its territory. Shortly thereafter, Saint Lucia was put under a hurricane watch and Grenada and its dependencies were put under a tropical storm watch. As the hurricane approached the southern Lesser Antilles, more watches were issued, and by 24 hours prior to Ivan passing through the island chain a hurricane warning was in effect for Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Tobago, and Grenada, and a tropical storm warning was in effect for Trinidad. With the path of Ivan more southerly than predicted, the hurricane warnings were downgraded to tropical storm warnings for the northern islands, and by late on September 7 when the eye of the hurricane passed near Grenada, hurricane warnings were in effect for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada. Subsequently, a tropical storm warning was issued for the northern coast of Venezuela through the Guajira Peninsula of Colombia.

On Venezuela, citizens in coastal areas of Sucre and Isla Margarita were moved to safer areas, and several thousands were evacuated due to the hurricane. The Simón Bolívar International Airport, as well as three other mainland airports, were closed. Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. temporarily closed its oil refinery in Curaçao, and two ports were briefly shut down; this caused a delay in two oil deliveries. The Valero Energy Corporation shut down its largest oil refinery in Aruba. Prior to the arrival of the hurricane, oil companies in Trinidad and Tobago ceased production and removed workers from offshore rigs; the Atlantic LNG company closed exports. Seven shelters were opened on Tobago, where about 560 people evacuated for the storm. Most evacuees were from low-lying areas, and on the day of the storm's passage most schools and businesses were closed. The two main airports in the country were closed, with one airline canceling all of its flights.

Over 1,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters on Grenada, including hundreds in low-lying areas in the capital city. Some shelters were damaged during the hurricane, forcing the evacuees to go elsewhere. Overall, the population responded little to the official advisories and recommendations, which potentially contributed to the death toll on the island. More than 1,000 residents of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines evacuated to 28 emergency shelters. On Barbados, officials closed schools and government buildings and prepared shelters prior to the arrival of the hurricane. To minimize danger, the island power grid was shut down. Four shelters opened on Saint Lucia, where many people sought safety during the storm.

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