No False Sense of Security this Hurricane Season
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a “near-normal” hurricane season in 2019, with between two and four major hurricanes expected.
But lest we be lulled into a false sense of security that this projection means that we are at low risk this year, we should be reminded that it only takes one direct hit from a storm for us to be plunged into destruction and devastation.
The 2019 hurricane season officially began on Saturday, June 1 and runs until November 30, with the peak coming in August, September and October. Scientists have said there is the likelihood of nine to 15 named storms, and two to four major Category 3 hurricanes with winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
Although the season officially began last Saturday, subtropical Storm Andrea formed before the beginning of the season, another indication that the models and forecasts are only guides.
Additionally, researchers have suggested that climate change is also causing some storms to intensify more rapidly which can lead to disastrous scenarios when communities are not given adequate notice to prepare.
We therefore should prepare as if the forecast had been for a season with above average activity.
Our firsthand experience with Hurricane Tomas in 2010 and the flash floods of April 2011 gave us some insight into how disruptive a direct hit can be on our lives.
But then came hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017. Although we were spared their wrath, the type of devastation they unleashed on residents of Dominica, Barbuda and Tortola was enough to strike trepidation in the hearts of even the most cold hearted among us and make us sit up and take notice.
Now is therefore 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.