Coastal residents advised to plan ahead for storm surge flooding | THE DAILY HERALD

CAY HILL–Coastal residents are advised to have plans in place for possible storm surge in the event of a passing hurricane along the South coastal areas of the country. The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) announced on Wednesday that 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 named storms form, and the beginning of the peak of the season is two weeks away. Property damage 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 St. Maarten are Beacon Hill; vicinity of the Princess Juliana International Airport road connection to Beacon Hill; Simpson Bay beach; Pelican coastal areas; Great Bay beach in Philipsburg along Boardwalk Boulevard; Pointe Blanche; and Guana Bay.

In the event of a passing hurricane, homeowners should secure their possessions in upper levels of the structure. If they decide not to stay in their home, they should make the necessary arrangements before the passing of a hurricane on where they 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, within 24 hours of the arrival of the storm system. First responders will not be able to go out during hurricane force winds to execute a rescue. Rising storm waters can also flood coastal roads; therefore, residents of these areas should leave before the waters begin to rise.

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. A checklist should include: 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.

Source: The Daily Herald