Hurricane Season Starts
It appears that Raymond Waters is already here; the official start of the Hurricane Season will be upon us in the next two weeks. The rainy season, which usually starts in the south around now and transitions northward, seems to have already made that transition and it appears as if the rainy season has begun.
An early rainy season is usually a good thing for the farmers and the agriculture sector. Crops bloom and greater yields become a more certain possibility, but an early rainy season may also signal an early increase in cyclonic energy which can lead to the early start of the Hurricane Season. It can also mean that flash floods, which are common at the start of the rainy season, are likely.
If the rainy and hurricane seasons, are early, on time, late, or if there will be flash floods it really does not matter. What matters is that we are prepared for any eventuality when it occurs. Knowing what to expect, and what to do, in response to a threat is what really matters.
We must be mindful that threats come in many forms. In 2010, the threat was Category 2 Hurricane Richard, in 2008 it was Tropical Storm Arthur and flooding due to the remnants of Tropical Depression 16; in 2000, it was the Category 4 Hurricane Keith; and in 1998 it was Category 5 Mitch. Dr. Gray of Colorado State University and Professor Saunders of the London University College both agree that there will be below normal hurricane activity this season. On the high end of the forecasts, Dr. Gray expects that there will be 10 named storms, of which 4 are expected to be hurricanes, of which 3 are expected to be major hurricanes this season.
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) advises that 90% of all hurricane casualties are due to drowning. During the recent hurricane emergencies, we witnessed loss of life and damage to property due to unpreparedness, but mostly due to our unwillingness to cooperate with NEMO. The damages to infrastructure were unavoidable and costly however, loss of life and damage to property could have been avoided if we heeded the directions from NEMO. The displacement suffered by the victims was in some cases due to their refusal to evacuate. The result was the need to provide scarce funds to accommodate victims, who deliberately exposed themselves to the risks. This need not happen again in the 2012 Hurricane Season; let us all make a commitment to reduce the loss of life due to hurricanes.
LET’S PLAN OUR PLANS AND WORK OUR PLANS.
You should review and update your hurricane plans. If you have not already done so, start now. NEMO requires on their request that all persons should evacuate the cayes, beaches and other locations which may be swept by high tides or storm waves. Plan your evacuation routes; make sure you have an alternate route. If your route is subject to flooding, leave early. Avoid the risk of being marooned or having to evacuate during the storm.
Tropical cyclones are erratic and change courses suddenly, so stay informed and listen to the radio and television stations for regular and official bulletins issued by NEMO. Do not listen to rumors. During storms, the national power grid may fail or may be turned off, keep working flashlights, storm lanterns and extra batteries and fuel readily available. Storms are generally short-lived however, the flooding after the storms and the scarcity of food can make post-storm survival challenging. Stock-up on food, which has a long shelf life or need little or no cooking. Do not weather the storm in an unsafe building; take no chances it only takes one event. That event does not have to be a Hurricane; it could be a Tropical Depression or strong tropical wave.
The life you save may be your own.