Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) says it is mobilising crews and other critical elements of its operations to manage the impact of the severe weather system expected to affect the island this weekend.
In a news release, it reminded customers that the severe weather system may result in extended power outages, as has been experienced in neighbouring territories.
“Once the system has passed, members of the public must avoid downed power lines,” JPS said.
The company said, after the passage of the storm, it will follow its restoration protocol to have power returned to those who lost supply.
The restoration protocol, JPS said, is structured as follows:
•First, the system is assessed for damage;
•Secondly, power is restored to essential services such as water pumps, hospitals, communications etc;
•Third, critical loads and large populated areas are addressed;
•Fourth, smaller population centres;
•And, lastly, small pockets of customers and individuals are returned to normalcy.
The company is also urging members of the public to take steps to secure their households and personal safety including the taking of stock of trees on their premises which could pose a danger to their homes or to power lines.
“Trim these (trees) where it is safe to do so,” said JPS, but it however cautioned persons not to attempt to cut trees which are already close to lines, as this could result in electric shock or loss of life.
Members of the public are also encouraged to ensure they have supplies on hand, including flash lights, battery operated radios, non-perishable food items and water, the light and power company said.
Importantly, persons who make use of generators should ensure that they are in good working order and properly connected to their home system, JPS added.
In its latest bulletin, the Metereological Service said Tropical Depression #9 continues to slowly strengthen as it moves across the Central Caribbean Sea and advances closer to Jamaica.
At 10:00 am, the centre of the tropical depression was located near latitude 14.2 degrees North, longitude 70.1 degrees West, or about 830 kilometres (615 miles) east-southeast of Kingston, or 773 kilometres (480 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica.
The tropical depression is moving towards the west-northwest near 22 km/h (14 mph) and a more westward turn is forecast over the next day or so followed by a turn back to the west-northwest and northwest by this weekend, the met office said.
It said Jamaica and its territorial waters should begin to feel impacts of the tropical depression as early as midday on Saturday with an increase in showers and gusty winds.
It is therefore likely that a tropical storm watch will be issued for the island later this afternoon, the met office said.