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“We must not be caught off guard” – The Royal Gazette

“We must not be caught off guard” – The Royal Gazette

Updated: June 1, 2024 at 8:11 a.m.

Hurricane Franklin, the first major storm of 2023 (File photo)

National Security Minister Michael Weeks urged island residents to prepare for hurricane season, saying: “We must not be caught off guard. »

The season officially starts todayand forecasters said there could be a higher than average number of hurricanes.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Weeks said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center had forecast an 85 percent chance of an above-normal season this year, with 17 to 25 named storms.

He added: “NOAA predicted eight to 13 of these storms would strengthen into hurricanes, including four to seven major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher.

“AccuWeather further warns that increasing sea temperatures make the rapid development of hurricanes more likely.”

Mr Weeks told MPs: “This means storms have the potential to increase wind intensity by at least 35mph in 24 hours or less.

“This data is concerning and we all need to be vigilant over the coming months. »

Bermuda fared relatively well last year, although it had some close calls, including Hurricane Franklin, the first major storm of the year, on August 30.

He said: “If there are lessons learned from 2023, they should be included in the updated plans.

“People should confirm that their property insurance is up to date, create a hurricane supplies checklist, and make sure necessary items are on hand.

“We should include a two-week supply of medications and non-perishable food items to sustain family members for up to three days. »

Mr Weeks added: “It is not too early to start preparations. Families should get together to discuss their hurricane plans for the season.

“Bermuda has successfully weathered many active hurricane seasons – pun intended. This could induce a false sense of security among the public and lead us to become complacent.

“I urge each of us not to let our guard down and to remain careful and cautious. I hasten to reiterate my previous comment that this year’s forecast indicates that hurricanes will form more quickly than in previous years with very little warning.

“It only takes one storm to directly impact Bermuda and cause major disruption to our daily lives and stability. I urge the public to take advantage of this time now to ensure that proper preparations for hurricane season are made.

• To read the minister’s full statement, see Related media.