Dutch Caribbean braces for tropical storm Bonnie with curfew, closed schools
Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are bracing for tropical storm Bonnie, set to hit the ABC islands on Wednesday evening. Curacao issued a Code Red weather warning, implemented a curfew, and closed schools. Aruba also set a Code Red warning and closed schools until Friday.
The storm is expected to hit the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao at about 8 p.m. local time, or 2 a.m. in the Netherlands. It’s currently north of the Venezuela coastline, just east of Caracas. The National Hurricane Center in the U.S. has issued a tropical storm warning for the three Dutch islands.
The official meteorological office in Curacao issued a Code Red warning for the gale-force winds expected. “Loose objects outside may turn into dangerous projectiles,” the office said in its bulletin. “Coastal flooding is expected to cause damage to beach areas.” It also warned of heavy rainfall, localized flooding, and landslides.
Curacao's curfew starts at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday. All businesses must close from 3:00 p.m., and only vital services like the police and Coast Guard are allowed on the streets after that - and only if needed. The government gave civil servants Wednesday off. All events and activities for Wednesday and Thursday are canceled, and schools will be closed. Several shelters are available for people uncertain about the structural integrity of their homes.
A similar warning was issued for Aruba by meteorology officials there. The island also has a heat warning in place, where temperatures could reach 37 degrees later today.
The Aruban authorities warned its population to expect heavy downpours until Friday, according to Antiliaans Dagblad. The tropical storm’s route runs between Aruba and Venezuela. “That is not a usual route. We are not used to it. That means that conditions will be different than usual. We expect very rough seas.” Emergency services will be on standby. The government called on residents of neighborhoods known to flood to try and find accommodation with friends or family elsewhere. Schools will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
The Dutch meteorological institute, KNMI, issued its own warning for Bonaire, where gusts could hit 100 km/h. “Local authorities and residents of Bonaire are advised to continue monitoring the further progress of this weather system and to take all necessary measures to safeguard their lives and property,” the KNMI stated. The sustained wind speed will likely rise from 55 km/h at about 5 p.m. to 75 km/h in the evening. Along with the heavy winds, the storm is expected to dump anywhere from 75 to 125 mm of rainfall on the island, with maximum wave heights of about 4 meters.