As residents of the British Virgin Islands continue to repair/rebuild homes and businesses, they are being urged to pay close attention to the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season predictions.
Forecasters are becoming more confident in releasing predictions on the possible impacts as the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season approaches. Considering the devastation caused by the events of 2017, residents are urged to prepare early and remain in a heightened state of readiness throughout the hurricane season.
Director of the Department for Disaster Management (DDM), Ms. Sharleen DaBreo says the department is working with a number of organisations and agencies to get the most vulnerable prepared for what might be another record breaking year.
She said, “We are working assiduously to restore our monitoring networks while reaching out to the most vulnerable persons in our communities to ensure that they are ready and remain ready throughout the season.”
Noting that the theme for this year’s hurricane season is “Be Ready and Stay Ready”, Ms. DaBreo said, “We are working with local and regional partners to get the elderly homes ready, ensure that emergency repairs are completed at the shelters that were damaged by the hurricanes, provide training for Community Emergency Response Teams, and put measures in place to ensure that information and alerts are readily available to the public for them to take action as necessary.”
The DDM Director explained that many of the forecasting agencies are calling for another active season including the Global Weather Oscillations, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA), AccuWeather and the Colorado State University.
The hurricane prediction organisation Global Weather Oscillations (GWO) indicated on January 18 that “2018 will be somewhat of a repeat – but some landfalls will occur in different locations this year”. They have indicated that the season will bring 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes, two of which will likely be major systems.
Accu Weather predicted on April 2, that the 2018 hurricane season forecast would be packed with multiple powerful hurricanes. Their forecast calls for 12 to 15 tropical storms and six to eight hurricanes with three to five of these being major hurricanes.
The Colorado State University (CSU) Tropical Meteorology Project (TMP) released their forecast on April 5, signaling that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be slightly above average with 14 named storms and seven hurricanes; three of which will be major hurricanes (Category 3-4-5). The CSU TMP indicated that there is 52 percent chance of at least one major hurricane (Category 3-4-5) tracking into the Caribbean.
Forecasters indicated that common factors contributed to the similarity in their forecasts; the main one being the ocean water temperatures that continue to run warmer than normal across most of the Atlantic Basin; especially in the Caribbean region. These temperatures are conducive to hurricane formation and strengthening close to the Caribbean.
Forecasters also expect the Bermuda-Azores High Pressure Center will again be in a favorable location allowing more named storms to strengthen as they move from east to west across the Atlantic Ocean. With weak El Niño conditions expected, the predictions are calling for an active season.
Deputy Director of the DDM, Dr. Evangeline Inniss-Springer leads the social science elements of the department’s programme. She said the department is pushing information through various media platforms to ensure that persons throughout the can access the preparedness messages.
Dr. Inniss-Springer added, “Our campaign was launched early this year to encourage persons to “Be ready and Stay ready”. We will continue to push preparedness messaging on social media (facebook.com/bvi.ddm/, Twitter.com/BVIDDM and YouTube/user/bviddm). We are also offering preparedness sessions to businesses, schools and meetings will be held with residents throughout the Territory; including the sister islands.”
The department will also continue to share information with the public via public service announcements (PSA’s) on radio.
Residents, businesses, schools and individuals are asked to partner with DDM and continue to work together to save lives, prevent injuries and protect property and the environment from the impacts of hazards.