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An average hurricane season has been predicted – be prepared

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The 2016 hurricane season does not officially begin until tomorrow, June 1, but already, over the past few days, we have been experiencing heavy, intermittent showers.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) climate prediction centre is expecting a “near-normal” Atlantic hurricane season in 2016.{{more}}

In its prediction for the season, which runs until November 30, the NOAA expects there to be 10 to 16 named storms, four to eight hurricanes, and one to four major hurricanes, with “major” deemed to be Category 3 or above on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale.

A prediction of “near-normal” may sound encouraging, but scientists say that these figures, compared with the past three years, actually suggest we could be in for more activity than we’ve seen in recent years.

We therefore must be prepared.

With all the challenges we presently face as a nation, the last thing we need at this time is to have to cope with the devastation a hurricane could have on our infrastructure and agriculture, not to mention the threat it could pose to human life.

The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has begun its awareness campaign for this year, and we would do well to heed their advice for individuals, families, businesses and organizations.

Director of NEMO Howie Prince has also called for volunteers and stressed the importance of relief organizations working together to ensure equity and fairness in the distribution of relief supplies.

Now is the time to ensure that our family emergency plans are up to date and that each member of the family is familiar with what to do in the event of an emergency. Stock up on non-perishable food items and medication, cut overhanging branches and carry out repairs to vulnerable areas of our homes.

If at all possible, homeowners should ensure that their homes are insured. There are some persons for whom this may not be possible, but it may surprise some to know that owners of quite substantial homes in our communities gamble that they will never need the insurance coverage.

Much of the damage to homes is caused by flood waters. With increasing deforestation and our topography forcing more and more persons to construct homes on our hillsides, we, as homeowners, should be mindful of the damage which run-off from our property can do to our neighbours’ homes, and take steps to ensure that our drains are clear and that waste water is effectively channelled away from others.

Let us not be caught unprepared, and let us not cause distress to ourselves and others by not taking the steps we know we should.

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