GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – “Remember it only takes one,” is the theme of the Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management (ODM) for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
The Fire Department/ODM is calling on the Sint Maarten community to begin to prepare in a timely manner for the Atlantic hurricane season, and to have home and business disaster plans in place before the peak period of the season which is from August – October. The hurricane season opens on June 1st which is less than two weeks away.
Preliminary forecasts have already indicated that we could be in for another busy hurricane season. Researchers in their April forecast predict a slightly above-average season, with 14-named tropical storm system of which seven are expected to become hurricanes, and three of those are expected to be major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher, with wind speeds reaching a minimum of 111 miles per hour.
The 2017 season had a total of 17-named storms, with 10 becoming hurricane and six of those developing into major hurricanes that included Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
The selected storm names for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season by the World Meteorological Organization are: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie, and William.
ODM says it’s not too soon to start preparing for the season, as weathering storms is part of the way of life in the Caribbean especially between June 1 to November 30
ODM is urging residents to use the next few weeks to prepare adequately by reviewing their annual hurricane season preparatory list.
ODM adds that the country’s disaster preparedness and emergency management mechanisms will be ready to deal with any eventuality arising during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
“Country Sint Maarten is in recovery mode since the passing of major hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Recovery and reconstruction will continue throughout the country for the coming months and years, and therefore, homeowners and business operators must include in their rebuilding efforts a hurricane season preparatory plan.
“There is no room for complacency. As we do for every hurricane season, preparing for a storm strike is necessary. Every household and business should take the necessary precautions by preparing, because it only takes one hurricane strike to make it a bad season. Our country has had this experience only eight months ago.
“Under three weeks’ time, we enter another hurricane season. By starting now to be prepared for the upcoming season, gives you time to be ready for the peak period of the season which is from mid-August to mid-October.
“Check your disaster plan and review your disaster supply kit. Prepare early and avoid being caught unprepared. Minimize your dependence on government, family or friends. Preparedness starts with every one of us within our communities,” ODM pointed out.
Some of the preparations that should be carried out now are checking hurricane shutters; the roof of your home or business; and 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 strike 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 until the storm has passed rather than staying on-board their vessel.
Additional public awareness communications will be made in the coming weeks via print, online and broadcast media with respect to preparing for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
The 2018 hurricane season officially runs through November 30.