Reports of coastal zone flooding in Frederiksted and water damage to buildings on St. Croix reached Gov. Charles W. Turnbull Wednesday morning, he said in a radio message shortly before 10:30 a.m.
And, he said, speaking on WVWI/Radio One, "The flood conditions that are existing are expected to worsen."
Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II "is monitoring that situation over there and informing me constantly," the governor said, speaking from the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency headquarters on St. Thomas.
The governor said that the territorywide curfew he imposed effective at 9 p.m. Tuesday "remains in effect until further notice." He added that police "will be citing individuals who are violating the curfew for prosecution."
Turnbull said he had sent President Clinton a request "to declare the Virgin Islands a disaster area, and I am awaiting word from him."
Such requests in advance of a threatening hurricane are standard procedure for states and territories, intended to expedite the federal disaster assistance response in the event of widespread damage.
According to Turnbull, there had been no reports of hurricane-related injuries, and VITEMA had not received any distress calls from people in need of emergency help.
However, at about the same time that the governor was speaking, WSTA Radio/Lucky 13 was broadcasting a report of a boat in distress off the coast of St. John.
Walter Trilhaase, a member of St. John Rescue, subsequently told The Source he had received reports of an open-cockpit powerboat adrift in the Fish Bay area. But, he said, there were no reports of anyone on board, and St. John Rescue had not dispatched an assistance team. Suzy Church at VI Radio had received a report of what appeared to be the same vessel, which she said was described as a 25-foot powerboat.
Alana Mawson, a citizen who observed the boat adrift, said the center-console vessel had drifted from Stevens Cay to Two Brothers in about 20 minutes around 8 a.m. Swells were about 10 to 15 feet, Mawson said, and the waves were pushing the vessel to the south in the direction of Lovango Cay.
Trillhasse said St. John Rescue did provide assistance around 8 a.m. Wednesday to two individuals aboard a boat named Matuse that was anchored in the Coral Bay area. The two people radioed for help because they had lost their dinghy and wanted to get off their boat, he said, so rescue personnel went out and brought them ashore.
Meantime, in St. Thomas harbor, there were reports around 9 a.m. that two sailboats had broken from their moorings off Hassel Island and were ramming into each other in the rough waters.


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