Editorial for October 11: Be prepared

You’ll hear many old seamen say that when Cayman gets its
first northerly cold front – like the one we had last week – it’s the end of
hurricane season for practical purposes.

Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth
this year.

Sea surface temperatures remain quite high in the
Caribbean, more than sufficient to support development of a tropical cyclone.
It will take more than just one cold front to cool the hot waters of the
western Caribbean Sea. In addition, with the current La Nina in the Pacific
Ocean, wind shear is expected to remain conducive for tropical cyclone
development in our area.

This year, hurricane season will likely be a threat to
Cayman right up until its end on 30 November.

Right now, there’s a tropical disturbance in the western
Caribbean that could impact the Cayman Islands as early as Tuesday.  These types of storms, which are actually
quite common in October and November, can form and threaten the Cayman Islands
in a very short time.  We only have to
think back to November 2008, when Hurricane Paloma formed in the southwest
Caribbean and surprised a lot of people with how quickly it was upon us.
Although Grand Cayman escaped major damage from Paloma, the Sister Islands did
not.

That is why it is important to stay vigilant, now more
than ever, and to remain prepared for a tropical cyclone until the official end
of the hurricane season.

This means keeping your shelves stocked with
nonperishable foods that you can eat without cooking; stocking up on drinking
water; keeping batteries for flashlights and lanterns handy; and making sure
your yard is clear of debris that could become a projectile during a storm.

Some people think that if they do all this and then there
isn’t a storm, it was a waste of time. 
But it is better to be prepared, and if Hurricanes Ivan and Paloma
taught us anything, it’s that you can never be too prepared.