Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs, in her capacity as chairlady of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), appeals to the Sint Maarten community not to become complacent this hurricane season and to remain vigilant and prepared. So far only three storm systems have formed, Alex, Bonnie, and Colin. A late start of storm activity in a season can still lead to major hurricanes forming and impacting countries.
“We are monitoring that there are several systems forming in the Atlantic. We will continue to keep the general public updated. All are encouraged to ensure that the preparations are in place seeing that we are now at the peak of the hurricane season.” said the Prime Minister.
The Meteorological Department St. Maarten has reported that a broad and elongated area of low pressure with an ill-defined center is showing potential for development over the central tropical Atlantic. Although environmental conditions ahead of the system do not appear conducive for significant development, a tropical depression, at the very least, is likely to form this week while it moves slowly toward the Lesser Antilles.
Prime Minister Jacobs pointed out that things have been rather quiet weather wise, however, the peak of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is approaching and normally September is a busy month for storm/hurricane activity. Residents and the business community are advised to pay keen attention to weather reports in the coming days and weeks, to take the appropriate action when called upon to do so by the EOC.
In the meantime, residents and business owners are requested to review their hurricane season preparations. Even though the season has been quiet so far, things are expected to pick up in the coming weeks.
Mr. Clive Richardson, Fire Chief and Disaster Management Coordinator also encourages every household to have their Disaster Supply Kit supplied to support the members of the household for a minimum of seven days after the hurricane has passed.
The Disaster Supply Kit should contain non-perishable food, water and medicine (fill prescriptions before the storm); non-electric can opener; first-aid kit; extra cash (ATM machines and credit cards won’t work if there is no electricity); a battery powered radio and flashlights as well as extra batteries; make sure cell phones are all charged prior to the arrival of the hurricane; fill up your car/truck with gas; check if your home and automobile insurance are up to date; put ID cards,
passports and driver’s license, insurance papers in a waterproof bag along with other important documents.
If you are a parent with an infant or young child (ren), you also need to have essential items as part of your disaster supply kit: baby formula; diapers; bottles; powdered milk; medications; moist towels; and diaper rash ointment.
Your Disaster Kit must also include hand sanitizer, a soap bar or liquid soap; two cloth face coverings for each person; disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces.
Continue to ensure that tree branches around your home are trimmed; cut all dead or weak branches on any trees on your property; clean-up your yard and put away items that could blow away during the passing of a hurricane; re-check your roof and storm shutters to make sure they are secure, and the latter are working.
For those whose homes are not yet storm/hurricane ready, you should make alternative housing arrangements to stay at family or friends. Ensure that you have a pet safety plan in place.
Do not wait until the last moment to make preparations for the passing of a storm/hurricane. Do not be caught off guard. Be prepared. The Government has taken the necessary preparations and is ready.
The community is 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 – SXMGOV 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane. For official weather-related information, visit the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com or visit their social media page Facebook.com/sxmweather/
Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Remain vigilant and prepared! The hurricane season runs through November 30.