Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 31, 2013 (SKNIS): The forecast for the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season indicates a heightened period of activity and the head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is urging residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to remain vigilant.
On this week’s edition of Perspectives – a radio programme produced by SKNIS – National Disaster Coordinator Carl Herbert thanked God that the Federation has not suffered the direct impact of a hurricane for some years but explained that this can change in an instant.
“We are in a state of ongoing preparedness,” he stated pointing to NEMA’s ongoing preparations. “Preparedness is not just something that you do and stop, because remember the season goes from June thru November so there are ongoing activities. We are appealing to and reaching out to individuals, families, institutions and organizations to play their part.”
Mr. Herbert advised against the common practice of preparing for a hurricane only if an alert or warning has been issued. He explained that there were a number of things that can be done right now.
“Making sure that they look at things like insurance, protection of their dwelling places, [installing] shutters and checking their premises,” the National Disaster Coordinator highlighted. “We need persons to stock up on non-perishable items like tinned food, crackers, extra medicines for persons that have special needs. We also want families to talk about where they may shelter if necessary.”
Advice was also shared for persons to protect important personal documents in water tight containers such as ziplock bags or sealable containers.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “predicts a 70% likelihood that 13 to 20 named storms—which have winds that sustain at 39 mph or higher—will occur.” Seven of the 11 could become hurricanes (winds higher than 74 mph) of which three to six may become major hurricanes i.e. Category 3 to 5, with winds speeds above 111 mph.