Storm warning

Storm warning

Preparedness message dominates calls as the 2019 hurricane season begins

By Arthur Hall
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


JAMAICANS are being urged to heed all warnings and take the necessary precautions to be ready for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which starts today.

At a media briefing to mark the start of the season yesterday, representatives of disaster preparedness and response agencies, expressed concern that some Jamaicans could let their guard down because Jamaica has avoided a major brush with a weather system for some time.

“There is no time that we are not a risk from a tropical cyclone in this region. From the season starts in June, until it ends at the start of December, Jamaica is at a position in the Caribbean that remains vulnerable,” said Evan Thompson, director of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica.

“There is also the memory of so many systems that have impacted us over the last few years, we have almost had a threat every year … and it could happen at the beginning of the season, the middle of the season or at the end.

“So, we must maintain our guard right throughout the six months, and to be honest, we must also maintain our guards outside of the hurricane season because these days we have systems developing before, or even after the hurricane season starts,” added Thompson.

Andrea, the first named storm of the 2019 Atlantic season, formed on May 20, more than one week before the start of the season. With maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, Andrea quickly dissipated.

The United States-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which Jamaica references for tropical systems, has predicted a “near-normal” hurricane season for 2019 with nine to 15 named storms and between two and four major hurricanes.

But Thompson warned that this should be no reason for Jamaicans to not be prepared.

He was supported by Richard Thompson, director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), who said while Jamaicans have been doing somewhat better in preparing for weather systems in recent years, there is no room for complacency.

“We have been giving the message over the years and persons have been getting better. We have grown as a country since Hurricane Gilbert (September 12, 1988), and where we have seen a reduction in the number of people to die when we have been impacted; it shows that persons are heading the message,” said the ODPEM head.

“But you can't drop your guard because as we always say, for a small island developing state like Jamaica, you don't need a hurricane, you just need an adverse weather system and it causes significant damage and significant displacement to our economy.

“So we always need preparedness measures. Not only agents of the state but persons inside their homes need to prepare,” added Thompson.

In the meantime, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie, in a message read by head of the board of directors of the ODPEM, Joy Douglas, expressed concern that a significant number of Jamaicans are unlikely to heed the message that preparedness is crucial to their quality of life if a disaster occurs.

“As Jamaicans we need to change our attitudes and our behaviour because this is something that is costing us dearly as a country, and we can ill-afford to be spending money constantly, simply because as citizens we are just less than conscious of our responsibility to keep our environment clean,” declared McKenzie.

List of 2019 Atlantic hurricane names:

Andrea

Barry

Chantal

Dorian

Erin

Fernand

Gabrielle

Humberto

Imelda

Jerry

Karen

Lorenzo

Melissa

Nestor

Olga

Pablo

Rebekah

Sebastien

Tanya

Van

Wendy


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaper-login


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT