With just eleven (11) days away from the start of the 2021 hurricane season Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation Michelle Forbes is urging citizens especially those who have been authorised to return home in the orange zone and selected parts of the red zone to adequately prepare ahead of time.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting another above-normal atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. however, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
The NEMO Director however warns that it only takes one heavy rainfall event or storm to impact St.Vincent and the Grenadines adversely.
Forbes is advising persons where possible to clear their roofs of ash and while doing so to ensure they do not damage the galvanise by using sharp objects such as shovels which could create leaks and may only be observed during rainfall.
Forbes said with the heavy ash-fall and debris in the mountains persons should be mindful of lahars or mudflows especially those closest to river valleys.
The NEMO Director added that persons in the flood prone areas especially in the red zone must also be very careful as the volcanic eruption has changed the landscape of communities which can result in different river flows.
Forbes said persons should not wait until June 1st to begin preparation as there is already a disturbance in the northern atlantic ocean with the potential to form at any moment. She said activities such as the cutting of overhanging trees, clearing of drains and pipes should be taken care of early noting that persons should not wait until the customary “last minute” to complete these activities.
Forbes also noted that with many shelters especially in the green zone occupied, NEMO is looking at alternative shelters to house persons in the event they may need to do so. She however advised that if possible persons should begin to fortify their homes and make alternative arrangements where possible.
Forbes reiterated her appeal for persons to take this year’s hurricane season seriously and be generally prepared for the various hazards.