close
MESSAGE BY HON. PREMIER – 2015 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

MESSAGE BY HON. PREMIER – 2015 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

June 3, 20151120Views

It
is that time again when we must all focus on hurricane preparations.  Forecasters are predicting that this
Hurricane Season will be “one of the least active seasons since the middle of
the 20th century”.

They
have attributed this to an El Niño development in the Pacific Ocean which will
allow for increased wind shear in the tropical Atlantic Basin, which is one
factor, along with dry air, that limits the development and strengthening of
tropical storms and hurricanes in this part of the world.

According
to the forecast issued by Colorado State University in April, the outlook calls
for seven named storms, including three hurricanes, one of which is predicted
to attain major hurricane status which is equivalent to Category 3 or stronger.

This
is well below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three
major hurricanes.

Although
forecasters are predicting much less activity than we have seen for the past 30
plus years, they are reminding coastal residents that it only takes one hurricane
making landfall to make it an active season.

As a
multi-island community, with extensive coastlines, it is very important for us
in the British Virgin Islands to ensure that we remain steadfast in our level
of preparedness. As the forecasters rightly indicate, all it takes is just one
hurricane affecting any or more than one of our islands.  

Join
me in supporting the Department of Disaster Management’s campaign for this year
under the theme “Be SMART – Preparedness leads to resiliency” which targets those
persons in our community who are vulnerable. 

Their
aim is to ensure that hazard awareness messages are reaching the entire
population but a concerted effort is being made to identify and support those
who are considered highly vulnerable and need to take necessary action to improve
their resiliency to potential hazard impacts.

Complacency
has no place in disaster preparedness. The 2014 hurricane season featured the
fewest number of named storms in 17 years. However, Bermuda was impacted by two
very destructive hurricanes – Fay and Gonzalo which struck the territory within
one week of each other. 

Their
impact caused between US $200 and $400 million dollars in insured losses and
this does not include damage to infrastructure or the many boats that were
destroyed. 

This
serves to underscore the unpredictability of storms and their level of impact which
reinforces for us, the need to be prepared every year, regardless of seasonal
forecasts.

In
addition, climate change is having an effect on global weather by raising the
average temperature of the planet. This is producing warmer temperatures which
could increase the magnitude of droughts.

Here
in the BVI, the very dry conditions of the past few months are quite evident with
many of our previously green hillsides, now brown from being scorched by the
intense heat. 

Over
the next six months the DDM will be working with all forms of local media to
bring you important preparedness information and advice. 

Follow
these carefully to ensure that if we are to be impacted this year, we can
recover quickly.

So remember,
Be
SMART – Preparedness leads to resiliency”.