Commencement of 2017 Hurricane Season
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs officially from June 1st to 30th November and marks a state of heightened hurricane awareness. The term "heightened" serves to remind us that hurricanes and Tropical weather systems do not limit themselves to formation during the officially recognized period as was evidenced with Tropical Storm Arlene in April this year. It should encourage us to think of our Hurricane preparedness activities all year long.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, is predicting an above average season for 2017 with eleven (11) to seventeen (17) named storms, five (5) to nine (9) hurricanes of which two (2) to four (4) are likely to be major hurricanes. This prediction is in no way a cause for any complacency as the number of Tropical weather systems predicted should play no part in determining the intensity of our preparedness.
The 2015 and 2016 hurricane seasons were relatively quiet for Anguilla but it only takes one storm to cause significant damage. The trend in recent years is for storms to develop rapidly within a short time period.
It cannot be stressed enough that preparedness is important as significant damage can be caused by weaker Tropical systems, particularly through extensive flooding.
Regular advisories will be issued and as customary the Department encourages all to pay special attention, in particular the preparedness for flooding. Persons living in low lying areas should ensure that they exercise caution and move to high ground well in advance. It is also worth remembering that it only takes a few inches of flowing water to sweep a vehicle off the road.
As always, ensure that your hurricane shutters are in working order, your Emergency Kit is replenished and everyone in your household is well versed and drilled in your Family Emergency Plan. Persons are encouraged to sign up to receive alerts such as email or the CAPiT app from the Anguilla Warning System at the Department's website ddmaxa.org/aws.htm.
Businesses are not exempt from preparedness activities. Ensure that your Business Continuity Plans are in place and your staff is intimately familiar with them. Be reminded that we at the Department are always willing to lend a hand with your plans and we encourage you to visit us so we can better assist you.
The Department also takes this opportunity to remind you of the dangers of "sight-seeing" and unnecessary vehicular traffic during the impact of storms. This dangerous practice must be strongly discouraged in the interest of safety of all the residents and visitors alike.
The Department of Disaster management re-iterates that one storm is all that is required to create havoc and despair. Let us endeavor to prepare for any eventuality this Hurricane Season by treating our preparedness efforts with the seriousness and urgency required. The Department wishes all a safe hurricane season and may God bless and keep Anguilla safe.
For further information or queries as it pertains to the various hazards and safety, please contact the Department of Disaster Management at 497 -2926.