June 1st was the official start of the Hurricane Season in the Western Hemisphere and Manager of the Grenada Meteorological Services, Hubert Whyte announced that it will be an average season.
However, Whyte warned this does not mean that people should let their guards down and be ill prepared for the season.
He appeared with Acting Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA), Terrence Walters at press conference held last week Wednesday.
According to Whyte, the prediction is for 12 named storms during the hurricane season.
“The forecast for 2016, we expect something like 12 main storms – could be a tropical cyclone with winds somewhere (like) 33-34 miles per hour and above, of that 12 main storms we expect five to develop into Hurricanes. In other words five of them would exceed 75 miles per hour winds and that means just about average, the average is 6.5. Of that five named storms, we expect two to become major storms – category 3 and upwards”, he said.
“…We should not hinge our preparedness on the fact that we are just about average because we must keep in mind there are years when the season was just as average and we had one terrible storm. So far we had two storms already and we must keep in mind that … already before the official start we had two storms…earlier this year we had Alex, and recently we had Bonnie which affected US East Coast,” he added.
Whyte sought to assure Grenadians that the Meteorological Office at Point Salines is ready for the challenge that lies ahead.
“Staffing is in place, our communication is in place. This is the first time that we will be going into the Hurricane season with a record amount of staff. We have staff to mann the office 24 hours and that would be good news. We have communication with Trinidad and National Hurricane Centre in Miami,” he said.
Walters who also spoke with reporters emphasised the importance of preparedness and the need for people to take this aspect seriously.
“Public and private sectors need to (get) involved heavily in preparedness for all hazards. Ministries, businesses, schools, churches and families need to prepare for all the hazards and families need to ensure that there is a real rehearsed family disaster plan in place”, he said.
“…A disaster supply kit is important and should include things like drinking water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, battery operated radio, a first aid kit, important documents and other items needed for survival for three to seven days or more,” he added.
Walter advised the population to get familiar with the different hurricane shelters in their area.
Persons were urged to often look up weather.mbia.com for information from the local Met office throughout the hurricane season.