At least 400 passengers are expected to touch down on Antigua this Thursday with hopes to get here in time for the opening of the St. Patrick’s Festival.
However, this may be a challenge as the weatherman is forecasting heavy rain and high seas for the rest of the week and into the weekend.
According to Access Coordinator David Duberry, his office is keeping an eye on the weather forecast and preparing to adjust plans in order to accommodate the high demand for transportation between Antigua and Montserrat from March 10th until March 15th. Several flights from the UK and USA are scheduled to bring hundreds of festival goers to the island.
Meteorologist Dale Destin of the Antigua & Barbuda Met Office said “most of these islands will likely see rainfall totals in the range of 10-40 mm (0.40-1.60 in). At least minor inland flooding is possible across some islands.
“Strong winds and rough seas will reach the various islands within 24 hours after the arrival of the front and continuing for up to 120 hours after the front passes. Thus, by Friday, most of the waters of the Caribbean will be having hazardous seas and will require the requisite warnings for mariners and sea bathers. Seas could peak near 3.5 m (12 ft.) across some areas,” Destin reported on his blog.
Although the rains are expected to dissipate by the end of the week, it is expected to be followed by sea swells up to 10 feet, which would make it a challenge for the Caribe Sun ferry to dock in Little Bay.
“With the combination of strong winds, sea swells and wind-driven waves, flooding of low-lying coastal areas due to large breaking waves is possible. Damage to coastlines can also be expected. The strong winds could also render some routine outdoor activities uncomfortable if not hazardous.”
Duberry told ZJB Radio Montserrat they will be monitoring the weather and preparing alternative arrangements where necessary. This could include chartering the Fly Montserrat and SVG Air to bring over passengers and also finding a larger ferry which can dock at the Plymouth Jetty.
In the interim, the access department is scheduling two ferry departures starting on Thursday, March 10 4:30PM and about 8:30PM. Travellers are encouraged to register as early as 1:00PM in order to be accommodated.