GREAT BAY (DCOMM):— The Office of Disaster Management that falls under the Fire Department and the Ministry of General Affairs is calling on the community to review hurricane season preparatory plans to make sure everything is in place in the event of a storm threat to the country.
The Caribbean which includes Sint Maarten has moved into the peak of the hurricane season, when storm systems are most frequent and often at their strongest.
The U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center recently stated that the Atlantic hurricane season is still expected to be the strongest since 2012, hence why residents need to be prepared because it only takes one storm to make it a bad season.
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center forecasts a 70 per cent chance of 12 to 17 named storms making it most likely a near-normal hurricane season.
Five to eight could become hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes of Category 3, 4 or 5 with wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or higher.
So far the season has seen six named storms form with the latest being Tropical Storm Fiona out in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean which developed on Wednesday. This storm does not pose a threat to Sint Maarten and is forecasted to remain out at sea.
The NOAA has adjusted its forecast because some conditions are now in place which indicates a more active hurricane season. One factor is the El Nino which is ending as well as a weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a strong West African monsoon season.
Mariners are advised to secure their vessels in the event of a hurricane threat and then to seek shelter on land as it is too dangerous to remain on-board. This places their life and the lives of rescue services in danger in the event of an emergency during the height of a passing hurricane.
Coastal residents are reminded to make sure they have their hurricane preparedness plans in place and to monitor weather forecasts from the St. Maarten Meteorological Department website: www.meteosxm.com
Advance planning by making sure hurricane shutters and windows close properly; checking your roof etc., means that you have less to do when the hurricane is knocking at our door.
Home owners and business operators should trim trees around their property, and get rid of un-necessary loose items in and around your yard that could become a hazard to your own home and that of your neighbors, ODM advises.
To date the remaining names for the Atlantic hurricane season are: Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.
Two systems reached hurricane status, namely Alex and Earl. Four storms have made landfall: Bonnie (in South Carolina, US), Colin (in western Florida, US), Danielle (in eastern Mexico), and Earl (in Belize and Mexico).
The 2016 hurricane season officially runs through November 30.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Review hurricane season preparations warns Office of Disaster Management.