Less than a month from now, on 1 June, the annual Atlantic basin hurricane season begins. All forecasts are calling for a very active season.
An active hurricane season was also predicted last season. Luckily, it did not materialise.
But regardless of what happened last year, the Cayman Islands is still at risk this year. As Cayman’s Head of Meteorological Services Fred Sambula often says, it only takes one hurricane to hit you for it to be a very bad season.
Businesses and households both need to formulate hurricane plans, if they haven’t already.
Hopefully, all home owners have their insurance in place. If it has been a few years since the last appraisal of replacement cost, it might be wise to do another one to make certain you’re not under or over insured.
Contents insurance is another thing a lot of people forget about and even renters might want to consider getting covered.
People should also start stocking up on hurricane supplies, including canned goods, bottled water, batteries and flashlights. There is no sense waiting until there is an actual storm approaching and then joining the mob scene at the supermarket or hardware store and finding empty shelves of some of the things you need.
If you were planning on getting hurricane shutters installed this year but haven’t done so yet, you’d better act fast. Many companies have to order the shutters in and there could be a lead time of a month or more.
If you have a pet, make sure you have a plan for that pet in the event of an approaching storm. Hurricane shelters do not accept pets, and leaving them home alone in flood prone areas is not wise.
Rainy season is about to begin as well, and it often starts a week or two in advance of hurricane season. There are preparations that should be made for that, too.
Anything around your house or apartment that could hold water should be removed or turned over. Standing fresh water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes and with diseases like malaria and dengue fever epidemic in the Caribbean region, we must do what we can to keep mosquito populations down.
Caulking around doors and windows should be checked to make sure it hasn’t cracked. Re-caulk if it has to avoid leaks from heavy rain.
Also check to make sure the tyres on your vehicle have ample tread to avoid skidding, and that your vehicle’s windshield wipers are still working well.
All we can do to mitigate the effects of the hurricane and rainy seasons is prepare ourselves as best as we can and that process should start now if it hasn’t already.