HMCI Director Urges Preparedness

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Published 1st June 2010, 2:39pm

June 1st marks the beginning of the 2010 Hurricane season and forecasters are predicting an 85% above average season with a 70% probability of 14 – 23 named storms; 8 – 14 hurricanes; 3 – 7 major hurricanes. This outlook reflects an expected set of conditions that is very conducive to increased Atlantic hurricane activity. This expectation is based on the prediction of three climate factors, all of which are conducive historically to increased tropical cyclone activity. These climate factors are: 1) the tropical multi-decadal signal, which has contributed to the high-activity era in the Atlantic basin that began in 1995, 2) exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea (called the Main Development Region), and 3) either ENSO-neutral or La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific, with La Niña becoming increasingly likely. In addition, dynamical models forecasts of the number and strength of tropical cyclones also predict a very active season. (Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center).

This will not be the first that an above average season has been forecasted but regardless of the forecast the most important consideration is the protection of life and property through rigorous preparedness. Remember it only takes one storm to cause severe damage and destruction. Therefore are you prepared for the hurricane season?

We really can’t take for granted that the usual services will be available to us in the days following a hurricane landfall. Prepare for that possibility. Each family, each business, every individual needs to take responsibility for themselves. We need to be able to make it through that initial period after an event without expecting government to come to the rescue.” Mr. Frederick continued, “Caymanians are typically very self-sufficient and resilient people and we are fortunate in that respect. Those are qualities we need to maintain and build upon.” Get your preparedness kits together there is still time to prepare your property, family and businesses.

Mr. Frederick once again reminded residents to gather their own emergency supplies to last a minimum of 72 hours. “I know times are hard but I think a week’s supply of non-perishable food and bottled water would probably be more appropriate if residents can manage that. After Hurricane Ivan some residents went without electricity for months, there was no running water for weeks; we went several days without supermarkets, banks, gas stations so it is of paramount importance that we are prepared as best as possible.

Many residents measure the strength of their home by how well it stood up to Hurricane Ivan. McCleary Frederick, Hazard Management Cayman Islands Director point outs that the Cayman Islands could actually face something worse, “Hurricane Ivan was officially listed as a very strong category 4, some still say it was a borderline category 5 hurricane, but it would be wise to remember that it passed twenty miles to the south of Grand Cayman. The fact remains that it is possible we could take a direct hit from a category 5 hurricane. So, if you live along the coast or in a flood prone area, or if you are not completely sure that your home can stand up to a major hurricane then you need to have a plan in place for sheltering.” Learn the location and route to your shelter, the items that you will need at a shelter inclusive of medication. Find out if it is best for you to stay on island or to evacuate and return after the storm. All these one needs to consider when preparing for a hurricane. Be prepared and don’t get caught out.