All eyes are on a disturbance in the Atlantic that could develop into the first hurricane this year and threaten the Lesser Antilles beginning early next week.
Senior Meteorological Officer at SCAPSA Elmo Burke said they are monitoring the weather system which could impact the Federation next week
“According to the National Hurricane Center, the system has a 50% chance of development into a hurricane,” said Burke
“Current models show that the storm is expected to affect the northern Lesser Antilles.”
He noted that it is “still early days” and that changes to the models and forecasts are still possible.
Burke said the Federation is under no storm watch or warning but the meteorological office was keeping an eye on the developments.
The National Hurricane Center said that a broad area of shower and thunderstorm activity is associated with a tropical wave located several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.
They said that little to no development of the wave is expected for the next few days while it moves westward across the eastern and central tropical Atlantic Ocean but environmental conditions are forecast to become more conducive for development over the weekend and a tropical depression could form by early next week several hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
Burke implored citizens to listen for advisories and urged all to be prepared. Burke added that this was the time of the year when considered the peak of the hurricane season.
National Disaster Coordinator at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Abdias Samuel said that national preparations are already underway and they have already mobilised stakeholders both locally and regionally as well as volunteers across the island. They have also been in regular contact with their regional counterparts.
Samuel also urged citizens to start to get prepare and develop a family checklist that would guide each household on how they will operate in the case of an emergency.
“You want to have a plan for example on how to deal with elderly persons within the household and who would take responsibility for that individual,” he said.
Samuel added that everyone should get familiar with the emergency shelters within their districts as well as the district leaders.
He also implored all to check the NEMA website and Facebook pages for information regarding any impending storms.
Samuel said the Federation had learned lessons from 2017 when the nation was affected by two storms within weeks of each other.
He added that NEMA had also learned lessons from other islands which were directly impacted.
“What that has done is made us more resilient, looking at what happened elsewhere and using that to get an idea of how we could be impacted,” Burke said.
Burke said that the 2017 experience taught them that every disturbance in the Atlantic ought to be taken seriously.