Message from Alida Francis, Government Commissioner on the start of the 2022 hurricane season

1 June, 2022 – Today, 1 June, marks the start of the 2022 hurricane season. Forecasters have predicted above-average hurricane activity this year, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US forecasting 14 to 21 named storms, of which six to ten could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes (category 3 or higher; with winds of 111 mph or higher).  

We pray that we’ll be spared this year, but we cannot be complacent. This is why I appeal to you, if you have not yet begun  preparing for the hurricane season, please start now. Let’s not wait until a storm is approaching to begin stocking up on everything you might need. You don’t need to buy everything at once, but a little at a time helps.

Experience has taught us that if we wait, there’s such a rush to the supermarkets that they run out of essential supplies rapidly.

So begin stocking up on dry and canned foods, water, diapers, flashlights (don’t forget extra batteries), and safety and personal items. Make sure you secure important documents, including medical documents, wills and passports.

Also, get your home ready by making sure your yards are clear of debris that could quickly become dangerous in the case of intense winds, trimming trees that may pose danger to you or your neighbour, repairing leaky roofs and having hurricane shutters or plywood to board up windows.  

Hurricane preparedness is as much an individual responsibility as it is a collective effort. As we’ve done for decades, The Public Entity will take our responsibility to inform and guide the community through this season seriously.

Throughout the month we’ll share general information and important tips, and, should we be threatened by a storm, we will provide regular updates and guidance to minimise and mitigate any possible damage.

And, as always, we expect you to take your responsibility seriously and play you part.

The last major hurricanes to impact us did so five years ago, in 2017, when hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc on some of our neighbouring countries.

Thankfully, we were spared the worst, but we still felt the effects with some damaged homes and downed trees. Again, we cannot be complacent; we must continue to be ever watchful and prepared.

I’d like to thank the Emergency Management Team who, over the past two-plus years, have been on the frontline of a different disaster: Covid 19.

While the hurricane season runs from June to the end of November, with a limited number of days of real threat, the pandemic has been a constant threat to our wellbeing, social life and the economy. Thankfully, we’ve had a respite, but we must not to let our guard down.

Therefore, as we prepare for the hurricane season, we must do so with Covid in mind.

I also wish to thank the churches and the community of churchgoers that guide us annually through the season and those that operate as shelters in times of need.

This community spirit serves us well, and it’s in this spirit of community that I again stress the need to come together to prepare both individually and collectively for the hurricane season. This will make a big difference.

Thank you.