Friday May 31, 2013 – Tomorrow June 1 marks the start of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season and officials are urging residents to be ready.
The DDM reminds residents that although the Virgin Islands have not been impacted by damaging storms and flood events in past, the last major impact was caused by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 that resulted in some 40 million dollars in damage.
Director, Disaster Management Sharleen DaBreo said, “Because the Virgin Islands have not experienced the level of impact of its neighbors, there is a sense of complacency setting in among residents which could pose a significant challenge for Government. It is for this reason that the DDM has launched an intense campaign for 2013, which will run throughout the season, with the theme “Are You Ready”.”
Forecasters are in general agreement that certain climatic factors will influence the upcoming hurricane season. Above-average sea surface temperatures are expected in the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) from the Caribbean to the coast of Africa. Sea surface temperatures in this region during the month of April were 0.4 degrees Celsius above average and 0.33 degrees Celsius above the average in the remainder of the global tropics. A continuation of above average sea surface temperatures is expected during much of this year’s hurricane season.
Presently we are in an active period of hurricane activity which commenced in 1995 and can be ascribed to a natural decades-long cycle in hurricane activity called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). In addition, no El Niño event is expected this year which tends to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. Neutral conditions have been present since the summer of 2012 and are predicted to remain neutral through the 2013 hurricane season by most of the forecast models.
Once they form, tropical storms and hurricanes are steered by day-to-day weather patterns but it is difficult to predict which pattern will have an effect on the storms this year. During more active seasons the odds increase for hurricanes to make landfall in the Virgin Islands.
DaBreo said, “The continued development along our coastlines and steep hillsides puts more people at risk, from landslides and storm-surge flooding at the shore to inland flooding from heavy rainfall. With rising sea levels due to climate change, storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes are already capable of doing more damage than previously seen. Residents need to be prepared ahead of time for this hurricane season. The forecasts have indicated that increased activity is expected and so we simply must be ready.”
The list of names for this season are Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.