Office of Disaster Management (ODM), is calling on the Sint Maarten community to begin to prepare timely for the Atlantic hurricane season, and to have the necessary plans in place by June 1st, the start of the 2015 season.
The hurricane season is still less than three weeks away, and the first tropical storm, Ana, formed last week north of the Bahama Islands. This storm made landfall over the weekend in South Carolina, United States.
Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane team Philip Klotzbach and William Gray have forecasted in their April report for one of the least active seasons since the middle of the 20th century. This is according to the forecasters, the likelihood of the development of an El Nino of at least moderate strength, that would develop this summer and fall.
CSU forecasts seven named storms (nine in 2014), three hurricanes (same as 2014), and one major hurricane (same as 2014) with over 111 miles per hour winds. The forecast is well below the long-term average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes each season.
In 2014, eight named storms had formed, six became hurricanes and two of them became major hurricanes.
Even though the official start of the season is over three weeks away, ODM is urging residents to use this period to prepare themselves adequately by reviewing their annual hurricane season preparatory list.
ODM adds that the country’s disaster preparedness and emergency management mechanisms are expected to be ready to deal with any eventuality arising during the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.
“As we do for every hurricane season, preparing for a storm strike is necessary. Remember it only takes one to make it a bad hurricane season. The 2014 season is a clear example when the country was struck by Hurricane Gonzalo in October. Even though the forecast for the season calls for less storm/hurricane activity, every household and business should still take the necessary precautions by preparing, because it only takes one hurricane strike to make it a bad season.
“Check your disaster plan and review your disaster supply kit. Prepare early and avoid being caught unprepared. Minimize your dependence on government, family or friends. Preparedness starts with every one of us within our communities,” ODM pointed out.
Some of the preparations that should be carried out now are checking hurricane shutters and the roof of your home or business, and to make sure windows and shutters close securely.
Persons living along coastal areas as well as those in flood prone areas should start looking at what measures they would take in the event of a hurricane which could cause flood challenges.
Mariners who are seeking shelter in the Simpson Bay Lagoon or Oyster Pond should also make plans to stay with friends or at a hotel until the storm has passed.
The 2015 hurricane season officially runs through November 30 and begins June 1st.