The Atlantic Hurricane Season ended last week without bringing major damage to the territory, but the Department of Disaster Management is urging residents to stay alert.
“We are very grateful that the Virgin Islands did not experience major impacts this hurricane season, but even more grateful that the community was able to work together to be ready,” DDM Director Jasen Penn said in a press release.
He added that the 2022 hurricane season, which ended on Nov. 30, was unusual.
“Forecasters initially observed several factors that would typically point toward a more active season,” he said. “However, with the lingering Sahara dust in the area we actually saw lower than average activity in the early part of the season.”
No tropical systems formed during August, a phenomenon that has been recorded during only two other seasons since 1950, according to DDM.
Also unexpected was the rare formation of two storms during November, a month that typically averages only one, the agency added.
14 named storms
All told, the season produced 14 named storms, including eight hurricanes, according to the United States National Hurricane Centre.
Two systems — Fiona and Ian — strengthened to major hurricanes before dissipating.
Those numbers were below pre-season projections.
In May, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had predicted 14 to 21 named storms (with winds of 39 miles per hour or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes.
Mr. Penn said surprises are likely to become the norm as global climate change impacts continue, and he reminded residents to stay vigilant.
“Even though the hurricane season has concluded, we know that storms can continue to form outside of the season,” he said. “We also know that we are vulnerable to other hazards like earthquakes, so it continues to be very important for individuals and businesses to stay prepared.”
Residents can go to bviddm.com to access disaster-planning resources including the emergency shelter list, emergency plan templates for families, and continuity planning templates for businesses.