The United States Coast Guard Wednesday closed all ports in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to commercial vessel traffic due to the approach of Hurricane Dorian.
The designation of port condition Zulu bans all inbound and outbound vessel movements until the storm clears the area, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
“Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions,” the agency said.
Dorian, which strengthened into a hurricane Wednesday afternoon, was approaching St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands with maximum sustained winds at 75 mph. The storm was moving northwest at 13 mph.
“On this track, Dorian should continue to move near or over the US and British Virgin Islands this afternoon and then move over the open Atlantic well east of the southeastern Bahamas,” the US National Weather Service (NWS) said in its latest advisory Wednesday. “Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph (120 km/h), with higher gusts. Dorian is forecast to continue strengthening during the next few days over the Atlantic waters.”
The NWS’ long-range track has Dorian making landfall along the east coast of Florida early Monday morning as a major hurricane.
Chelsea Kavanagh, spokesperson for the Jacksonville Port Authority, told JOC.com the port is currently operating under normal conditions, but monitoring Dorian's path as part of its typical storm checklist. "We're definitely keeping a close eye on it," she said.
Jaxport last week said it had its busiest July ever for container volumes, with more than 116,000 TEU moving through the port last month, up 19% from July 2018. The port handled 1.27 million TEU last year, up from 1.03 million TEU in 2017, according to the port’s website.
Officials from the Port of Savannah in Georgia could not be immediately reached.
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