August 9, 20131119Views

Friday, August 9The Department of Disaster Management
(DDM) is continuing to encourage hurricane preparedness in the British Virgin
Islands although forecasters have lowered their prediction for the 2013
Atlantic hurricane season.

In a revised forecast,
climatologists at Colorado State University (CSU) predict eight hurricanes,
three of which will be major. The initial 2013 forecast listed nine hurricanes,
four of them major.

The revised prediction is
being attributed to what the forecasters refer to as the “anomalous cooling of sea surface temperatures in the
tropical and subtropical eastern Atlantic.” This has created less than
favourable conditions for tropical cyclone activity.

The revised forecast was
created using a newly developed extended-range early August statistical
prediction scheme developed over the previous 33-years in conjunction with an
older August statistical model.

According to the
forecasters, their predictions are based on the premise that the “global
oceanic and atmospheric conditions which preceded comparatively active or
inactive hurricane seasons in the past provide meaningful information about
similar trends in future seasons.”

The CSU climatologists
disclosed that the historical record showed five hurricane seasons with
environmental conditions similar to what was observed in June and July this
year. The years identified are 1952, 1966, 1996, 2007, and 2008.

Although the 2013
prediction has been revised, the experts maintain the prediction of an
above-average hurricane season this year, with a total of 18 named storms
likely to develop. An average season is likely to see 12 named storms, with six
hurricanes, three of them major.

Given the continued
predictions for above normal activity, the DDM cautions residents against
complacency and urges them to be prepared. 

Information and Education
Manager for the DDM, Ms. Philomena Robertson said, “Our theme this year is ‘Are you Ready?’ We want the entire
population to be ready. Complacency has no place in disaster preparedness.”

Ms. Robertson said, “We
have a list of several questions which are designed to help persons ensure
their readiness.  Have you developed an
emergency plan? Is your disaster supplies kit ready? Do you have enough
drinking water? Do you have extra batteries for your radio and flashlight? Do
you have sufficient medical supplies? Do you have protection for your windows?
Is your insurance policy valid? If you answer yes to all of these, it means you
are ready.”

Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30. It is the period
when tropical storms are most likely to form in the Atlantic Basin. So far this
year, four named storms have developed.