Countries in the Eastern Caribbean, along the North American gulf coast and the Eastern seaboard of the United States of America have all experienced elements of the “very active” 2011 hurricane risks, particularly in August and September, says Chris Hind, General Manager of NEM Insurance Company (Ja.) Limited.
“We are now at the height of the hurricane season and the projections of above average storm activity have been borne out,” Mr. Hind said. “To date, two tropical storms, Irene and Emily, peaking to hurricane status at times, have caused extensive damage in the region.”
Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Colorado State University (CSU) predicted a very active 2011 season, and this has direct implications for Jamaica. Forecasters at NOAA predicted that there will be 12 to 18 named tropical storms this hurricane season, with 6 to 10 of these becoming hurricanes. At CSU, forecasters predict 16 named storms, with 9 of these becoming hurricanes.
“So far, this year Jamaica has been spared the direct impact of a hurricane; but, we should not take the season for granted, as it continues through November 30,” Mr. Hind said. And, the Colorado university researchers say there is a 38 percent probability of a hurricane tracking within 100 miles of Jamaica, and even that could have serious consequences.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season is officially between June 1, and November 30, but storms also occur outside the official season, Mr. Hind said. Atlantic hurricanes have occurred in December and lasted into January, and tropical storms have been recorded in every month of the year.
“Be prudent,” Mr. Hind advised. He noted that the destructive winds may be the most dramatic aspect of a hurricane, but the associated flash flooding, landslides, and storm surges can be even more of a threat to life.
To help Jamaicans to prepare in advance of a hurricane threat, NEM has compiled pointers to guide members of the public. Mr. Hind said, “Planning ahead makes sense for a country, a company and for you, as an individual.”