Editorial for May 28: Hurricane season is here

Like it or not, the 2010 Atlantic
hurricane season officially starts Tuesday.

If the National Hurricane Center in
Miami – and seemingly countless other meteorologists – are correct, we are in
for a very active season.

What does this mean for the Cayman
Islands?  The simple answer is we don’t
know.  Even in the most active of
hurricane seasons, the chance the eye of a hurricane will ‘hit’ any particular
place is really quite low. The reverse side of this is also true: Even in an inactive
season, hurricanes can, and usually do, ‘hit’ somewhere.  All it takes is one hurricane to hit where
you live to make it a bad hurricane season.

In the end, even the best weather
forecasters can’t say if a tropical cyclone will hit any particular area during
a hurricane season.  All they can say is
that the climate conditions are such that they support either an active or
inactive season.  This year, there are so
many climate conditions supporting an active season that nearly everyone is
predicting much higher than average activity. Chances are, the Cayman Islands
will at least have some hurricane scares this year.

An important factor to realise
though is that hurricanes are not single points that only impact areas along
the thin black line of the path of their centres.  Hurricanes are large weather systems that
sometimes span several hundred miles. 
Even if the path of a hurricane’s eye passes far away from a particular
coastal area, it can still cause damage from heavy surf and rains – as Grand
Cayman experienced firsthand with Hurricane Michelle in 2001.

The only way to approach this or
any other hurricane season is to prepare for a direct hit. This entails
preparing our homes, developing a personal or family hurricane plan and buying
some supplies.  Those supplies might cost
a little money, but most of them are handy to have around anyway, and the
foodstuffs can be eaten after hurricane season is over. Preparing for the
worst, while hoping for the best, is the only way to ensure we are ready for any
eventuality.

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