The public has been advised not to ignore any weather bulletins this season, because any tropical wave or warning could become the next hurricane.
The warning came from both Acting Director of the Meteorological Service, Hampden Lovell and Deputy Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds.
Lovell told the media at the first briefing for the hurricane season at the DEM’s Warrens Industrial Park offices, that the season was set to be a very busy one and members of the public had to play their part in preparedness efforts.
Although the many systems last year did not impact on Barbados as greatly as they did elsewhere, the acting director advised the public could help with preparedness by taking every warning seriously.
“It only takes one major system to hit this region and do havoc… I want to implore you to take heed to all the warnings and watches coming from the Met Office and to see every tropical wave coming across the Atlantic as a potential hurricane.
“I want to stress that again. In your day-to-day doings and you hear of a tropical wave, take that wave as though it could be the next hurricane,” he said.
This season, which is set to be an “active, above normal” one, is scheduled to experience 18 named storms, nine of which could become hurricanes and four expected to reach hurricane status of Category Three or greater, said Lovell.
Likewise, Hinds said: “I would like the public to bear in mind that it only takes one severe event making landfall to disrupt our normal daily routines.
“Therefore it is incumbent on all persons to ensure they heed the warnings and put the necessary precautions in place to ensure their own safety and the safety of their family.”
Hinds emphasised that preparedness was a shared responsibility everyone should take seriously, adding: “National preparedness is merely the sum total of the individual, family, business, community, agency and organisational preparedness, whether in the public or private sector.”
The DEM plans to roll out a number of activities relating to preparedness, including displays at City Centre Mall and today officials were speaking with elderly persons in the Grazettes community. (LB)