GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Coastal residents are advised to have plans in place for possible storm surge in the event of a passing hurricane along the south coast of the country.
According to the Office of Disaster Management, these plans should have been in place since before the start of the hurricane season on June 1.
The season so far has seen three storms form, and the peak of the season still has to come.
Property damages that can be expected from hurricanes and coastal flooding have been increasing year by year, and in many places the threat to life is increasing as well, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Most coastal communities are vulnerable to one or more different kinds of flooding and related hazards: frequent flooding from storm surge and winds; and storm-caused erosion of bluffs and beaches.
Coastal areas of Sint Maarten are: Beacon Hill, vicinity of the Princess Juliana International Airport road connection to Beacon Hill, Simpson Bay, Pelican, and Philipsburg (along the boardwalk).
In the event of a passing hurricane, homeowners should secure their possessions to upper levels of the structure. If you decide not to stay in your home, you should make the necessary arrangements before the passing of a hurricane on where you would stay to ride out the storm system.
One should not wait until the last moment to evacuate their home; this should be done before the hurricane arrives. First responders won’t be able to go out during hurricane force winds to execute a rescue. Rising storm waters can also flood coastal roads, therefore you should leave before.
The most important link in the chain of preparation and response for coastal flooding is you. Take the necessary measures to prepare your family and home, according to the Office of Disaster Management.
Here is a check list if you have to leave your home before a hurricane strike due to high storm surge that is expected: turn off water and gas; have a radio and spare batteries; a first aid kit; flashlight; spare bedding; bottled water and tinned food; house keys; prescription medicine; cash and credit cards; mobile phone and spare clothing.
Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Be prepared!