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Published 10th September 2012, 1:57pm

September 10th is the statistical peak for Atlantic tropical cyclone activity and residents should anticipate increased tropical cyclone activity. Looking back at the 2012 hurricane season so far; the Cayman Islands got off to an early start to the season with the outer bands of Tropical Storm Beryl delivering torrential rain to the Islands in the latter part of May. Beryl prompted the National Weather Service to issue severe weather bulletins for the Cayman Islands. In early August a Tropical Storm Watch went up as Tropical Storm Ernesto tracked south of the Cayman Islands. Towards the end of the month of August, another Tropical Storm Watch was issued for the Cayman Islands, this time for Tropical Storm Isaac. Fortunately none of these cyclones delivered a direct impact and the Cayman Islands has come through mostly unscathed during the early part of the 2012 season, but it is too early to let the guard down.

On August 9th NOAA revised its seasonal prediction upwards to between 12 to 17 named storms (up from 9 to 15). The average number of tropical cyclones between 1950 and the year 2000 is just 9.6, and there were 8 cyclones this year in the month of August alone (Tied with 2004 for most hurricanes for a month). It could be a busy season after all, but it just takes one hurricane to do the damage.

Residents should be on high alert, especially during the next month or so when hurricane activity is normally highest. We must prepare prior to the impeding threat of an impact. Ensure that you have a supply of non-perishable food and water. Check that you have good batteries for your handheld radio and flashlight. Update your family plan and restock the first aid kit. Past events have shown that services such as electricity, supermarkets, gasoline, banks, and running water may not be available in the aftermath of a hurricane impact. Every resident should have in place a stock of food and water to last for 5 to 7 days. Heading into the later part of the season the lead time for preparation can be short.

If you have not done so already:

  • Come to a decision about where you will shelter during a storm
  • Ensure that travel documents and insurance policies are up to date
  • Place all vital documents in a waterproof ‘grab and go’ container
  • Service your generator if you have one
  • Check your shutters, make sure that they fit and you have all the parts
  • Remove debris from the yard
  • Trim back trees
  • Store non-perishable food and water

Hurricane Preparedness Information is available at the HMCI Office at the Government Building on Elgin Avenue and on the website www.caymanprepared.ky.

The effects of a hurricane are real and in many cases long lasting. To reduce the level of inconvenience incurred from the effects of a hurricane, it is vitally important to prepare in advance.