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Coast Guard urges hurricane season preparedness

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The United States Coast Guard is reminding the Caribbean to prepare for the 2018 hurricane season.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October, the US Coast Guard said.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra­tion’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75 percent chance the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be “near or above normal.”

But, even with this prediction, the US Coast Guard warned the public to always be “prepared for the unexpected, making sure they are ready for the hurricane season.

“It’s vitally important to have a hurricane preparedness plan set in place for you and your family,” said Capt. Shawn Koch, Coast Guard 7th District, chief of incident management.

“We highly recommend ensuring you have a survival kit with items like batteries, flash lights, radios and water,” he added. “It’s also critical to pay close attention to weather both ashore and out at sea, and heed the messages and evacuation orders if issued by authorities.”

The Coast Guard urged the public to ensure nationals have a disaster kit ready to go in case of an emergency; and get to know the surroundings, including the elevation of homes and properties.

“Hurricanes often bring storm surge, which is considered the greatest threat to property and life during any tropical storm,” the Coast Guard said. “Know your communities’ evacuation routes and how you would evacuate to higher ground.”

In addition, the Coast Guard urged the public to listen to local officials.

“If told to evacuate, do so immediately,” it said. “You should consider evacuating if you live near bodies of water, a mobile home or high-rise building.”

The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is also urging regional countries to undertake all necessary measures to ensure the safety of their populations.

Thought top scientists with the Colorado State University say the season may not be as dangerous as earlier predicted and that a near-average season is likely, they predicted 14 named storms, of which six would become hurricanes.

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speed reaches 74 miles per hour.

CDEMA executive director Ronald Jackson said Caribbean countries, particularly those that were several impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria when they passed through the Lesser Antilles last September, should take all necessary precautions to save life and limb.

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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