July 29, 2020 - A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Leeward Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. In preparation for the arrival of Tropical Cyclone #9, Christiansted NHS (CHRI), Buck Island Reef NM (BUIS), and Salt River Bay NHP&EP (SARI) are securing all park buildings and facilities on July29, 2020, prior to the storm’s arrival. Following the actions of the U.S. Coast Guard regarding current conditions, once port condition ZULU has been established Buck Island Reef facilities, including the pier, Underwater Trail moorings, beach picnic areas, rest rooms, hiking trail, will be temporarily closed. These facilities will be reopened once the storm has passed and park staff have determined conditions are safe for boaters to return to the park to resume anchoring and mooring.
The total potential rainfall could reach 3 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches across the northern Leeward Islands, British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with a risk for flash floods and mudslides. Tropical storm-force winds may reach up to 65 miles per hour, there is a high risk for strong rip currents from Tuesday evening through late Thursday (July 30, 2020) night, and a coastal flood watch in effect through Thursday afternoon. Seas could reach 10 to 13 feet in exposed areas. Because of these risks to life and safety we strongly discourage people from visiting Buck Island National Monument during and immediately after the storm.
On July 31, 2020, park staff will conduct assessments at all three parks look for any damages to park facilities and natural and cultural resources, and announce any further closures.