GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, who forecasted back in June about an above-normal 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, has upgraded their forecasts for the month of August to an active season ahead.
The NOAA has increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.
Forecasters now predict 14-19 named storms (increased from the May predicted range of 11-17) and 2-5 major hurricanes (increased from the May predicted range of 2-4). A prediction for 5-9 hurricanes remains unchanged from the initial May outlook.
An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1-November 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
Eight named storms have formed with Tropical Storm Harvey several hundred miles east of the Southern Caribbean island chain.
The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) says this is a stark reminder that residents and business owners should be prepared for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
Fire Chief and Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson, is calling on the community to use the time now to re-check storm preparations and to be prepared; and to clean-up their yards and surroundings of any debris that could blow away in the event of a storm/hurricane. Remember, it only takes one to make it a bad season.
The Region has entered the peak period of hurricane activity which runs from August 15 to October 15.
The remaining storm names for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season are: Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.
The ODM is urging residents to check hurricane shutters and the roof of their home or business, and to make sure windows and shutters close securely.
Persons living along coastal areas as well as those in flood prone areas should start looking at what measures they would take in the event of a hurricane which could cause flood challenges.
Mariners who are seeking shelter in the Simpson Bay Lagoon or Oyster Pond should also make plans to stay with friends or at a hotel once they have secured their vessel in a timely manner rather than staying on-board the vessel to ride out the passing of a storm.
The 2017 hurricane season started on June 1 and runs through November 30.
The list of hurricane shelters for the season are: New Testament Baptist Church (Philipsburg), Sr. Marie Laurence School (Middle Region), Milton Peters College (South Reward), Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Center (St. Peters), Sint Maarten Academy (Cul de Sac), National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA, Cay Hill), Leonard Connor School (Cay Bay), Christian Fellowship Church (Cole Bay), Allan C. Halley Community Centre (Simpson Bay).