St. Maarten Weather Services to issue storm watches and warnings for the first time

PHOTO CUTLINE: L to R, Paul Martens, Head of Section Disaster Management and Fire Chief/National Disaster Coordinator Winston Salomon. DCOMM Photo

Police traffic circulation plans in place

Some of the reports received from the 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) at last week’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting about the country’s disaster management system reveals that more than a majority of preparations are in place for the passing of a hurricane.

The Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS) ESF-10 will be issuing for the first time tropical storm/hurricane watches and warnings without any assistance from the Curacao Met Services.


The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, and Transportation & Telecommunications (ESF-10) is busy compiling a list of food items – price freeze – in order to prevent price gouging prior and after a hurricane strike.

The Department of Communication (DCOMM) (ESF-8) which is responsible for public information and media is also ready for the season. DCOMM currently has an on-going public awareness campaign to remind residents about being prepared for what is forecast to be an extremely busy season.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (ESF-6) has been mobilized and will be meeting with a number of stakeholders this week with respect to their preparations for the season.

The Fire Department (ESF-4) is prepared and ready to roll out to assist in an emergency situation.

The Power Utility Company GEBE (ESF-1) reported that they are prepared for the season. Major generator overhauls have been completed no major preventative maintenance is necessary during the season.

Any open trenches where work is being carried out by the company will be closed in the event of the passing of a hurricane.

GEBE will do everything to keep the electricity on, however, if conditions reach a certain level, for the safety of the equipment and if there are downed power lines, the plant will be shut down.

The Department of Social Services (ESF-7) is in the process with several other government agencies to carry out an assessment of hurricane shelters for the season. The department will also commence shortly with an information campaign with respect to the shelter usage and what you can take to a shelter.

The Police Force (ESF-5) is assessing their buildings and already has in place a traffic circulation plan.

Also present during the EOC/ESF meeting last week Thursday was the Adjudant to the Governor’s Cabinet and a representative from the Cabinet of the Prime Minister (ESF-9).

Storm names for the 2013 season are: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

The 2013 hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.