The hurricane season always has the potential to affect Dominica and several of the other islands in the Caribbean archipelago. The first tropical storm of the season 2017 formed on April 20th, 41 days ahead of the official start of the hurricane season. Dubbed Arlene, she was not the first tropical cyclone to have started before the official season date of June 1st in recent years, however she was the first to have formed very much up north and centered in the Atlantic Basin, therefore posing no real threat to land.
It’s important that both residents of and visitors to the islands and territories typically threatened by tropical storms, do the necessary work to make preparations for an approaching storm or its worse counterpart, a hurricane, well before the season starts, we’d say by the end of March each year by stocking up on emergency items, supplies and equipment so that if and when a storm alert is issued, you are more than well prepared in advance. You will be left only with getting some fresh supplies such as water, re-checking your batteries and taking all pre-packed bags into vehicles should an evacuation become necessary.
Even with a 36-hour warning, many people find themselves without sufficient materials for boarding up their homes and feverish trips to hardware stores can come up almost empty handed depending on the severity of warnings and the availability of supplies to the public.
It is a good decision to plan permanent storm and hurricane shutters if you know you live in an area that is prone to getting the worst of storms. If you’re visiting the area during this season, it’s also a good idea to seek out accommodation that provides amenities such as storm shutters, solar powered features and facilities in case things get bad and you’re left for days without electricity and water. Ask your hosts about their action plan in circumstances of such emergencies and make sure you do not depend on others for providing drinking water. Buy at least enough water to last each person for at least 2 to 3 days. If your rental does not come with an emergency or first aid kit, get one as soon as you’re there or travel with your own supplies.
Here are some links to assist you with hurricane or tropical storm preparations; bookmark important websites:
- The National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Preparedness – Be Ready
- Ready.gov Hurricane page: This page explains what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area. It also provides tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.
- FEMA.gov – FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms, Third Edition (2015)