PHILIPSBURG--Tropical Storm Danny kept most of the country indoors Sunday night, but failed to deliver on the promise of much-needed rain to soak the drought-dry land Sunday night into Monday morning.
The storm system became a hurricane on Thursday, but then weakened into a tropical depression that is still expected to bring some rain – up to one inch, according to the Meteorological Department – into today, Tuesday. There is still the possibility of flooding.
All businesses were given the go-ahead to reopen on Monday afternoon at owners' discretion and availability of their staff by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs, who had ordered Government services and all businesses, including restaurants and casinos, closed as of 10:00pm Sunday. He gave the "all clear" at noon on Monday after Danny was downgraded to just a trough of low pressure by the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 11:00am Monday.
All Government departments closed on Monday will resume operations and services to the public today.
All schools and day-care centres are open for regular operations today, Tuesday. All schools and day-cares were closed on Monday by an order issued by Education Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs on Friday.
All court cases postponed from Monday are to be held today.
The outpatient care clinic of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) is to resume normal operations today after Monday's storm-related closure. All appointments have been rescheduled by the clinic. Patients should contact SMMC for details.
In his address to the nation Gumbs thanked residents "for taking this weather event seriously. ... From what I have observed with this experience in the past days, I say: job well done." He reminded residents not to become complacent because all had been fine with the passage of Danny. "The next time things could be different," he said.
National preparations were carried out in "a timely manner rather than in a haphazard one," he said. All measures taken were "precautionary" to safeguard life and property in the event things changed.
"We made the correct call and we must thank the Almighty that so far everything turned out fine and that we wake up to a nice sunny day," Gumbs said.
Some residents and business owners were critical of Government's order to close down services on Sunday night. Others were in favour of the decision, remembering the rapid weather changes of Hurricane Gonzalo last October.
The country was placed under a tropical storm watch on Saturday morning and remained so until early Monday.
Due to what was described as the "unpredictable behaviour" of Danny, the Commander for the Dutch Caribbean deployed units of the Royal Dutch Navy, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard and the Aruba Militia from Curaçao and Aruba to St. Maarten and Statia on Saturday. The permanent detachment stationed in St. Maarten was in a high alert status. Military personnel were prepared to deliver aid and assistance before and after Danny's passage.
Only one of the nine hurricane shelters was opened on Sunday night – Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Centre in St. Peters. The Office of Disaster Management had announced on Thursday that shelters would open based on the severity and anticipated impact of any approaching storm.
With Danny now history, authorities and residents are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Erika located about 950 miles East of the Eastern Caribbean.
A second system – a tropical wave and associated low pressure area located near the Cape Verde Islands – is accompanied by disorganised showers and thunderstorms. Environmental conditions are not expected to be conducive for significant development of this system while it moves Westward at 15-20 mph over the next few days.