Fire Chief and National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson, is calling on the Sint Maarten community to use the time now to re-check storm preparations and to be prepared for the peak weeks of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season as two storm systems churn out in the Atlantic Ocean.
Storm formation has ticked up and the surge of activity could continue in the coming weeks. Hurricane Dorian is making its way near the coasts of the U.S. eastern seaboard of the Carolinas while Tropical Storm Gabrielle poses no threat to land in the far open Atlantic.
This week Tropical Storm Fernand made landfall in northeast Mexico and has since dissipated. There are two other weather systems in the eastern Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa that should be monitored by the community.
Richardson added that this is not the time to become complacent, but to be prepared and vigilant. Every household and business operation have a personal responsibility to make sure they are storm ready by cleaning-up yards and surroundings of any debris that could blow away in the event of a storm/hurricane. Remember, it only takes one to make it a bad season.
The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) reminds residents and business owners with the potential for more storms to develop during the coming weeks, they should have plans in place for quick action.
An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
The U.S. Weather Service NOAA has forecasted between 10-17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 5-9 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 2-4 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).
Seven named storms have already developed for the season, namely Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, and Gabrielle.
The remaining storm names for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season are: Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.
The ODM is reiterating and urging residents to check hurricane shutters and the roof structure of their home or business, and to make sure windows and shutters close securely.
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 once they have secured their vessel in a timely manner rather than staying on-board the vessel to ride out the passing of a storm.
The community and new residents are urged to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting 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