This Atlantic Hurricane Season has been eerily quiet so far, but with storm activity expected to intensify in the coming weeks the territory must not let down its guard.
In its first two-and-a-half months, the season has seen only three named storms, with the most recent — Tropical Storm Colin — fading out in early July. None formed into hurricanes or did enough damage to put themselves on the news radar for long.
Compared to last year, when the Atlantic had seen seven named storms by mid-August, this year’s season is slow indeed.
But this pace is probably not an indication of the future. In fact, the busiest months of the season tend to be mid-August through mid-October. And although forecasters have slightly downgraded previous projections, they are still predicting more storms than usual this year.
In May, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had predicted 21 named storms. An update released this month predicts between 14 and 20, with as many as 10 hurricanes and five major hurricanes. That’s a lot of storms to pack into the three-and-a-half months between now and the end of the season on Nov. 30. If such predictions prove accurate, the region could see multiple serious threats in the coming weeks.
We fear the territory is not ready. Too often in the VI, complacency sets in during years with minimal storm activity.
Across much of the territory, there are troubling signs. Boats are not properly stored. Construction sites are not organised. Homes are not ready to shutter up at a moment’s notice. Ghuts and other waterways are not clear.
In the coming days, everyone should do a mid-season review to ensure that they are prepared for the worst. This means putting in place a response plan and stockpiling supplies like food, water, first aid kits, flashlights and others.
The government — which has been wildly busy with recent events stemming from the former premier’s arrest and the Commission of Inquiry — must play a leading role in such efforts. But it can only do so much. Businesses, non-profit organisations, and individuals must also take initiative.
One need only remember Hurricane Irma in 2017 to understand the catastrophic devastation that can be wrought by a single storm with precious little warning.