GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – With the peak of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season to start in three weeks, residents living along the country’s coasts line near beaches as well as businesses that are located in similar areas, are advised to have plans in place for possible storm surge inundation in the event of a passing hurricane along the south coasts areas of the country.
Office of Disaster Management (ODM) says, these plans should be in place year-round as a natural disaster can happen at any time. Families should take extra time to practice the plan at the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season which starts on June 1. ODM urges families to use the opportunity now to review those plans to make sure you are ready!
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.
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 and mostly found on the south side of the island are: Beacon Hill, vicinity of the Princess Juliana International Airport road connection to Beacon Hill, Simpson Bay beach, Pelican, and Philipsburg Great Bay beach (along the boardwalk), Point Blanche, and Guana Bay.
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 at the beginning of the season about where you and/or your family would stay to ride out the storm/hurricane.
One should not wait until the last moment to evacuate their home; this should be done before the hurricane arrives, minimum of 24 hours of the arrival of the storm system.
First responders won’t be able to go out during hurricane force winds to execute a rescue if you are trapped and inundated by storm surge. Rising storm waters can also flood coastal roads; therefore, you should leave 24-hours 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, ODM advises.
Here is a check list if you have to leave your home before a hurricane strike due to anticipated high storm surge: 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.
For general information about preparing prior to a storm/hurricane strike, visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.” Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM – for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane. For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com
Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Are You Ready? Be prepared this hurricane season!