NASSAU, The Bahamas – Hurricane Joaquin weakens slightly as it continues to drift toward the northwest. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for the Central and the Northwestern Bahamas including: the Abacos, the Berry Islands, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, New Providence, and Acklins, Crooked Island, and Mayaguana in the Southeast Bahamas. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within in the warning area within 36 hours. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Bimini and Andros Island. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warming area within 48 hours.
A Tropical Storm Warning continues to be in effect for the remainder of the Southeast Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area within 36 hours.
The Bahamas is an archipelago with more than 700 islands and keys spread over 100,000 square miles. Therefore, while some of the islands are experiencing hurricane conditions, many others are not being affected. In essence, hurricanes rarely affect the entire country.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is able to provide updates on the following islands:
• LPIA closed at 2pm today and will open at 7am tomorrow, Saturday, October 3
• There were six cruise cancellations for today
• Nassau Port is still expecting five ships on Saturday; there are no changes to those schedules yet
• There are approximately 5,700 visitors on the island (4,999 in major hotels, and the rest estimated for second home owners and small hotels)
• It is business as usual at the airport
• Freeport Harbour is anticipating diversions on Saturday; no confirmation yet
• Power is off in most of the Family Islands
• The US Coast Guard is searching for a 735-foot cargo ship with 33 crew members aboard that was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was reported near Crooked Island.
• The airport is under water
• Reports that Bonefish Lodge is under water
• Roads are impassable; no electricity
• Low lying areas in North Long Island are under 4 feet of water
• Tropical storm force winds are expected from 5pm today until 5 am Saturday, October 3
• Power lines are down
• Winds are at 150 mph
Staniel Cay, Exuma
• Intermittent rain
• No severe weather reported
• Will be out of hurricane conditions after 6pm today
• The island is only experiencing Tropical Storm force winds from now until tomorrow
• Beaches are taking a beating and the sea level is rapidly rising
South Andros and Mangrove Cay
• Skies are overcast with winds 15 to 20 knots and light rain
• There is flooding in low lying areas
The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism’s crisis management team continues to liaise with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Nassau Airport Development Company, the Port Authority and other relevant authorities. It is also keeping track of all visitor counts by island and receiving frequent updates.
All hotels and resorts throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas have activated their hurricane programs and are taking all necessary precautions to protect visitors and residents, as safety remains the highest priority.
The Bahamas Meteorology Department wishes to inform the Bahamian people that the Department’s Doppler Radar is operational and has been operational continuously and throughout the entire tracking process of Hurricane Joaquin. Any assertion to the contrary is incorrect.
Airport Update – Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA)
Air Traffic Control has advised that Air Traffic Services were suspended on Friday, October 2015 at 2pm (1400hrs), and will resume at 7am (0700hrs) on Saturday, October 3, 2015. Subsequently, all airport operations will be suspended during this timeframe as well.
Cruise Itinerary Update
The Port of Nassau closed at 12pm today and is scheduled to re-open tomorrow at 7am EST. As a result several cruise lines have rerouted their vessels.
• Carnival Sensation: Carnival Sensation’s three-night Bahamas cruise — which departed October 1 — will visit Freeport instead of Nassau on October 2.
• Norwegian Getaway: On October 2, Norwegian Getaway will skip Nassau for a sea day before returning to Miami Saturday morning.
• Royal Princess: Royal Princess will skip the line’s private island on September 30 and October 2.
• Disney Magic: Disney Magic has been forced to skip its scheduled visits to Castaway Cay and Nassau. The ship’s new itinerary is Key West on October 1, Cozumel on October 2 and a sea day on October 3.
• Disney Dream: Disney Dream will replace its October 2 call at Nassau with a sea day. As of now, it will visit Castaway Cay on October 3 as scheduled.
• Disney Fantasy: Disney Dream — which is approaching the end of a weeklong Eastern Caribbean cruise — will skip Castaway Cay on October 2 before returning to Port Canaveral on Saturday.
• Carnival Pride Freeport call is cancelled for October 2.
• Carnival Fantasy Freeport call is cancelled for October 3.
• Majesty of the Seas: Diverted to Freeport for October 3.
• Enchantment of the Seas: Diverted to Freeport for October 3.
Nassau, New Providence
• There are six cruise cancellations for today, Friday, October 2, 2015.
• Nassau Port is expecting five ships on Saturday; there are as yet no changes to those schedules.
• The airport remains opens for business as usual.
• Freeport Harbour is anticipating diversions on Saturday, but there is as yet no confirmation on specific calls.
The Islands Of The Bahamas will be releasing updates on tracking of Hurricane Joaquin, but we encourage everyone to access the National Hurricane Center and The Weather Channel for latest updates. For more information on Hurricane Joaquin and The Islands Of The Bahamas, travel professionals and consumers are advised to access the following:
The next update will be issued at noon on Saturday, October 3.