Monday, April 15, 2024
HomeEditorialHurricane season is here, let’s prepare!

Hurricane season is here, let’s prepare!

On Thursday as the centre of Tropical Storm Bret was located near latitude 13.8 North, longitude 57.7 West, approximately 255 nautical miles east northeast of Grenada, it most likely brought the point home that we are in the hurricane season. At that time Bret had maximum sustained winds near 70 mph (110 km/h) and the minimum central pressure (for those who understand the met office jargon) was 999 mb (29.50 inches). How prepared are we for that kind of weather?

Some of us are still traumatized from the experiences of hurricane Ivan and Emily the following year when we think of the graphic stories that were told and also what we saw. There are stories of people running to nowhere during the storm as the wind demolished their homes; also people were forced to bury bodies without medical practitioners pronouncing them dead. Then there was no electricity which contributed to the shortage of food and water where people had to be creative to stay alive. Did we learn enough then, to avoid being caught off guard next time?

According to the forecast, Bret is expected to move westward across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea today (Friday) and Saturday. While we are saying thank God that it has moved away from us, should we wish it on another country? Or are we getting ready to jump to their rescue as needed?

We should never forget the kindness that was shown to us from a lot of countries far and near in our time of need. Visitors even came to Grenada to help clear away the debris, etc. How many of us simply watched while they worked, without lending a hand? Grenada even got a gift of low income houses from the government of Venezuela to assist with the problems we were facing as a result of Hurricane Ivan and Emily. Let’s learn a lesson from their kindness.
Here in Grenada the weather continues to be partly cloudy to cloudy with light to moderate showers,
increasing in cloudiness with moderate to heavy showers, lightning, and thunder. The meteorological office at Point Salines said that Grenada is not under a Tropical Storm Watch or Warning at this time. However, what about our neighbours?  On Thursday a Hurricane Watch was in effect for Saint Lucia, and a Tropical Storm Warning for Dominica and Martinique; a Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and we may even hear of additional watches or warnings. By evening time we got the breaking news that Saint Vincent was on lockdown in preparation for tropical storm Bret.

It was prudent of the Acting Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel to take to the airwaves in the afternoon to warn the population about making their final preparations before the country went into lockdown. In a calm bur stern voice he warned them to prepare for rainfall accumulation of 3- 6 inches or 75 – 150 millimeters as the tropical storm can create life threatening flash floods. So the warning remains in effect until further notice for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and people in areas so prone should take heed. The fisher folk were advised to pull their boats to higher ground.

The Acting Prime Minister in revealing the plan, told the nation that the full shut down include all business places. Only essential services such as police, the health services and utilities should report to work “under their department instruction” and all emergency shelters and the National Emergency Operations Centres are now fully activated and stand ready to spring into action. So far so good for that country as they seem to be in control of the situation.

It is our hope that Grenada will do better than we did in the past in the event of another system coming our way and the Governor General and the Prime Minister ran away to safety. The security risk they took while the country was in mayhem still have people shaking their heads.

We are aware that people are still building homes on the coastlines despite warnings; there wer videos circulating this morning (Friday) of strong waves breaking in people’s yards in Saint Patrick and other areas. We also learnt that the sea was rough on the eastern side of the island too. Are we building to withstand the kind of weather now that some people think is associated to climate change? Are we paying attention to having in place survival kits and tactics? There is a saying that ‘when your neighbour’s house is on fire, you should wet yours.’ What this means is that while we may be out of harm’s way at this time, we should not become complacent. Hurricane Lennie taught us a good lesson as no one expected the storm surge it caused after it had passed and everyone felt safe.

Friday morning brought news of another weather system called Cindy. Let’s prepare by opening drains, cutting overhanging branches and store up enough food that do not need refrigeration. There are enough Grenadian fruits in season and breadnuts make a good snack. This newspaper is wishing everybody well for the hurricane season.

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