Worldview Security Update – August 29, 2019
29-Aug-19

AMERICAS

Caribbean: As of 0900 UTC on 29 August 2019, Hurricane Dorian was located approximately 240 km (150 mi) north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was moving northwest at about 20 kph (13 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Dorian was generating maximum sustained winds of 140 kph with higher gusts. Dorian is forecast to strengthen into a Category 3 hurricane as it approaches the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the U.S. state of Florida over the next several days. Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis has enacted a preemptive state of emergency for at least 26 central and eastern counties in anticipation of the storm. Residents in those areas are stockpiling basic goods and other supplies due to the expected disruptions associated with the storm.

Dorian made landfall as a Category 1 storm in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on 28 August with recorded winds of approximately 80-120 kph. The storm dropped 10-15 cm (4-6 in) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 20 cm across the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, damage from the storm caused island-wide blackouts on St. Thomas and St. John, while over 25,000 residents of St. Croix temporarily lost power; efforts to restore access to electricity are underway. In Puerto Rico, over 23,000 residents experienced power outages during the afternoon of 28 August, while blackouts were reported in Barbados and Saint Lucia. Dorian also felled trees and downed power lines in St. Thomas and downed trees in Barbados. Minor flooding was reported in Martinique; no reports of major flooding have emerged. No storm-related damage was reported in the British Virgin Islands.

Dorian is expected to bring up to 15 cm of rain to the Bahamas over the next couple of days. Meanwhile, southern and eastern Puerto Rico, as well as the Southeastern coast of the U.S., could receive up to 20 cm of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 30 cm. Flash floods in those areas are possible. Storm-generated swells along the coastal areas in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are expected to diminish on 29 August. However, such swells are expected to cause hazardous surfs and riptide conditions across the southeastern U.S. and the eastern Bahamian shores over the next several days.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): On 29 August 2019, police officials in Hong Kong banned a pro-democracy rally scheduled for 31 August, citing public safety concerns after violence broke out following an authorized demonstration on 25 August. In a letter to the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) — the protest organizer — officials cited concerns that groups of demonstrators could engage in “violent and destructive acts” during the event. Officials further stated that pro-democracy protesters had engaged in destructive acts — such as arson attacks — and employed Molotov cocktails and other weapons to inflict property damage and injury to others during previous demonstrations. The CHRF will likely appeal the decision.

China / Vietnam (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 29 August 2019, Tropical Storm Podul was located approximately 250 km (155 mi) northeast of Da Nang, Vietnam, and was moving west at 32 kph (20 mph). At that time, Podul was generating maximum sustained winds of 65 kph with gusts of up to 83 kph. The storm is currently passing south of China’s Hainan island and is expected to make a second landfall in Vietnam’s Quang Binh province during the early hours of 30 August. Landslides, powerful winds and torrential rainfalls of between 150-250 mm (6-10 in) are likely in the province.

EUROPE

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 2): Demonstrations to protest against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposed suspension of Parliament are planned across the United Kingdom beginning on 29 August 2019. On 29 August opposition activists plan to demonstrate in Leeds’ City Square beginning at 1730 local time (1630 UTC). Meanwhile, on 31 August protests are planned throughout the day in several cities, including Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield and York. Travelers should expect traffic disruptions and an increased police presence at these locations during planned demonstrations.

Impromptu protests broke out across the United Kingdom on 28 August following an announcement regarding the suspension of Parliament. In central London, demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square and outside the Palace of Westminster, blocking roads and disrupting traffic in the surrounding area. Elsewhere, smaller protests took place in the cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh. There were no reports of significant violence at any of the protests, although a minor scuffle reportedly broke out between anti- and pro-Brexit demonstrators in London’s Parliament Square before police officers intervened.