Despite reports that Jamaica is expecting a less than normal hurricane season this year, meteorologists are urging the population to still prepare for natural disasters.
The call was made by Evan Thompson, Director of the Meteorological Services Branch and President of the Regional Association (RA) IV of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) at a press briefing today (June 14).
He cautioned that while a normal hurricane season is expected, the island still can experience a natural disaster.
“If we only have one hurricane produced this year, and it occurs in the Caribbean and moves over Jamaica as a major hurricane, it would be nothing normal for us. And so we cannot consider the word normal to be one that allows us to slip into any kind of complacency. Our actions, our preparations cannot be normal,” said Thompson.
The director also warned citizens against waiting until a hurricane watch to make preparations. Instead, he urged citizens to stack up on non-perishable items and have their emergency kits ready incase the island experiences a hurricane this season.
According to the meteorologist, sea surface temperatures in the Caribbean continue above average, which means a hurricane could develop.
He further explained that while El Nino has reduced the chances of a hurricane, it has not reduced the possibility to zero.
“[El Nino] is good news, in terms of the number of systems that could develop, but we still do not know where any system will develop and how long it will last or how strong it will become. We can only say that the overall activity is likely to be less active than normal,” said Thompson.
El Nino is strengthening and is expected to continue throughout the hurricane season.