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PRESS RELEASE – BVI SPARED IMPACT DURING AN UNUSUALLY QUIET 2013 HURRICANE SEASON

PRESS RELEASE – BVI SPARED IMPACT DURING AN UNUSUALLY QUIET 2013 HURRICANE SEASON

December 9, 2013770Views

The British
Virgin Islands (BVI) has again been spared any impact during an unusually quiet
Atlantic hurricane season that produced no major hurricanes for the first time
since 1994.

The season
produced 13 named storms, a total well below the 18 named storms and nine
hurricanes forecasters predicted.

A press
release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the
United States, noted that although the number of named storms was above the
average of 12, the numbers
of hurricanes and major hurricanes were well below their averages of
six and three, respectively.

According to
the NOAA, the unusually quiet season was due largely to “persistent,
unfavourable conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and tropical
Atlantic Ocean.”

The NOAA
quoted its lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, Dr. Gerry Bell as saying that “T
his unexpectedly low
activity is linked to an unpredictable atmospheric pattern that prevented the
growth of storms by producing exceptionally dry, sinking air and strong
vertical wind shear in much of the main hurricane formation region, which spans
the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.”

Dr. Bell according to the
NOAA, also makes mention of “several strong outbreaks of dry and stable air
that originated over Africa” which were not conducive to the formation of
hurricanes.

The just-ended
season has been ranked the sixth least active since 1950, a rating that is
based on the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes.
The 2013 hurricane season has also been recorded as “
only the third below-normal season in
the last 19 years, since 1995, when the current high-activity era for Atlantic
hurricanes began.”

Here in the BVI, Director
of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Ms. Sharleen DaBreo said the
Territory is fortunate to have again been spared impact. However, she cautioned
against complacency and pledged the department’s commitment to continue
ensuring that residents engage in adequate mitigation measures to reduce
potential losses.

“The DDM stands by its
motto ‘It is better to prepare and prevent, than repair and repent’ which is
actually an 1856 quote from S. Thomas. Although we have been spared significant
impact for many years, the BVI remains vulnerable to hurricanes and as such, we
must continue to focus on mitigation measures that will allow for greater
resiliency in vulnerable communities. It is crucial to remember that for every
dollar we invest in mitigation, we could save you $5 in future losses,” Ms. Da
Breo said.

The 2014 Atlantic
Hurricane Outlook from the NOAA will be issued in May. The Atlantic hurricane
season runs from June 1 to November 30.

Photo Caption: Fire Officer cuts downed tree outside the Elmore Stoutt High School in the aftermath of Hurricane Earl.