PHILIPSBURG--According to the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS), Tropical Storm Karen, at its closest point of approach, is forecast to pass about 175 miles west-southwest of the country on Tuesday morning.

  MDS said the potential impact for St. Maarten are total rainfall accumulations of one to three inches, possibly up to four inches in some areas. Increasing cloudiness with showers and thunderstorms are expected within the next 24 hours, MDS said on Monday afternoon.

  Most of the significant showers are expected on Monday night into Tuesday. Flooding and/or rockslides are expected in flood-prone areas and along hillsides. Residents and users of these areas are advised to be vigilant, said MDS.

  Gusty winds could accompany showers Monday night through Tuesday.

  Sea swells up to nine feet are possible during the passage of Tropical Storm Karen, mainly along the southern coast. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, said MDS. Beach erosion is possible in vulnerable areas and sea-bathers are advised to stay away from the sea.

  St. Maarten Fire Chief and National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson is calling on the population to closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Karen, and to take note of advice and warnings from MDS.

  St. Maarten is not under any watch or warning. However, St. Maarten could receive weather from the storm as it moves towards and over the area of the United States (US)/British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, said Richardson.

  The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) and MDS said they will continue to closely monitor the progress of the storm and will keep the public updated via intermittent bulletins.

  ODM urges the community and new residents to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting government website where one can download a “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide” and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”

  Listen to government radio station 107.9FM for official information and news before, during and after a storm, said ODM.

  For official weather-related information, persons can visit MDS’ website at