Editorial for May 24: Prepare for hurricane

This September will mark seven years since Hurricane Ivan devastated Grand Cayman.  It’s only natural that as time passes and the memories of Ivan fade, residents tend to become more complacent when it comes to hurricane preparedness. Plus, because of the transient nature of Cayman’s labour force, many residents here now were not here during Ivan.

Forecasts of active hurricane seasons can also cause complacency. Last year, for instance, experts predicted a hyperactive hurricane season and Cayman only got some rain out of a couple of tropical storms that passed far away. Last year’s hurricane season was indeed hyperactive, but fortunately most of the hurricanes stayed at sea.  However, if you were to ask people in Nova Scotia or the Gulf Coast of Mexico they’d likely tell you 2010 was a terrible hurricane season.

Unfortunately, there is no way for forecasters to accurately predict what areas will be impacted by tropical cyclones during the course of a hurricane season. The thing to remember, however, is that it only takes one hurricane to hit a particular area to make it a bad hurricane season.

That is the point of preparing for the worst every hurricane season, regardless of whether or not an active season is predicted. Tropical cyclones form every hurricane season and there’s no way to say for sure they won’t hit Cayman or anywhere else susceptible to hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin.

It stands to reason that if, as forecast, this hurricane season has above-average tropical cyclone activity, then there’s a higher chance for any particular area to be impacted.

We urge all residents of the Cayman Islands to heed the warnings to prepare for hurricane season this and every year. Those who don’t know what to do to prepare can obtain a copy of the annual Cayman Free Press Hurricane Guide, which will be inserted into the newspaper on Thursday, 2 June. Free copies can also be picked up in our office lobby.

There’s nothing anyone can do to stop a hurricane if it’s coming our way, but we can do plenty to protect life and property to the best of our abilities.