Today’s Editorial August 05: Hurricane vigilance still needed

It is good to hear that scientists are now forecasting a below-average hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin.

After the relatively active years recently – including major hurricane impacts to Grand Cayman in 2004 and to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman last year – hearing that El Niño will likely help dampen tropical cyclone activity this year is welcome news.

However, as Cayman’s Head of Meteorological Services Fred Sambula is always quick to remind us, it only takes one storm with Cayman’s name on it to make it an active hurricane season for us here.

Although it’s been a quiet hurricane season so far, we are now entering the part of the year that has historically been the most active time for tropical cyclones to form in the Atlantic Basin. Sea surface temperatures are still warming and there is more than enough energy stored in the ocean for hurricanes to spawn and become very powerful.

Residents of the Cayman Islands cannot afford to let down their guard thinking there is no danger from hurricanes this year. Especially now that we are entering the peak part of the hurricane season, all residents should have hurricane supplies on hand and their personal hurricane plan in place.

Those who wait until a storm is actually approaching will likely find themselves in a stressed situation as they frantically try to prepare. Also, as we learned last year with the Hurricane Paloma experience, not all storms travel across the Atlantic before they get to Cayman, giving us plenty of time to prepare. Sometimes, tropical cyclones can form to the south of Cayman and be upon us in very little time.

While we all hope for the best when it comes to hurricanes, we need to prepare for the worst, and this hurricane season is no exception.