Commissioner of Economic Affairs Maria Buncamper-Molanus, is seeking to establish an early relationship with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of Miami since the responsibilities of the Central Government meteorological service will be transferred to the Island Territory as of July 1, 2009.
The transfer of tasks and responsibilities is based on the November 24, 2008 agreement that was signed between the Island Territory and the Central Government.
"In anticipation of the takeover, the Central Government will be asked to cooperate with the action plan of St. Maarten which is taking a pro-active approach in preparing for country status and the responsibilities that come with it.
"St. Maarten is in the hurricane belt and we need to establish direct protocols with the NHC out of Miami which has the resources with respect to satellites and aircraft that keep track of these systems throughout the Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and provide early warning for the residents," Commissioner of Economic Affairs Maria Buncamper-Molanus told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Monday.
The 2008 hurricane season according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) produced a record number of consecutive storms to strike the United States and ranks as one of the more active seasons in the 64 years since comprehensive records began.
A total of 16 named storms formed in the 2008 season, which included eight hurricanes, five of which were major hurricanes at category three strength or higher.
"According to the NOAA, the 2008 hurricane season continued the current active hurricane era and is the tenth season to produce above-normal activity in the past 14-years.
"The 2008 season overall, is tied as the fourth most active in terms of named storms (16) and major hurricanes (five), and is tied as the fifth most active in terms of hurricanes (eight) since 1944. St. Maarten as an island nation in the hurricane belt, has to ensure that we have direct links with institutions that can provide reliable early warning information in order for residents and businesses to prepare for an approaching storm," Commissioner Buncamper-Molanus explained.