Jamaicans told to prepare for 11 storms

BY COREY ROBINSON Observer staff reporter robinsonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, June 02, 2012

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JAMAICA could be hit by as many as 11 storms this year amidst predictions for a less than active Atlantic Hurricane Season, which began yesterday and runs through to November 30.

Scientists are forecasting up to 15 named storms, three of which could become major hurricanes.

Already two storms — Alberto and Beryl — have formed outside the official hurricane season. Both developed near the United States.

"The 30-year average [for Jamaica] is 12 named storms. So based on the predictions, everybody is going slightly below average in storms," explained Jeffrey Spooner, acting head of the National Meteorological Service.

He disclosed that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted 40 days of tropical storm conditions for Jamaica this year, 20 days fewer than average.

Spooner was speaking at a press conference at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management yesterday. The event marked the beginning of Disaster Preparedness Month, which is being observed under the theme 'Embrace Climate Change Realities... Build Disaster Resilient Communities.'

Yesterday, Spooner urged Jamaicans to not let up on their hurricane preparations for the hurricseason.

"We cannot become complacent. Today (yesterday) marks the official start of the hurricane season and we have gone two named storms so far," said Spooner.

"If we do have a below active season the possibility exists that we could be impacted significantly...," explained Spooner, citing the unpredictable and devastating 1992 hurricane season, which saw four hurricanes forming from only six tropical storms.

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