Although quiet up to this point, Scientists predicted that the 2013 hurricane season would have been above average, and as September approaches, Philmore Mullings, Director of the National Office of Disaster Services, NODS, has warned, “Remember Luis.”
Historically the most destructive hurricanes have occurred in September. The most devastating system to have affected the twin island nation made landfall on the said month, almost 18 years ago; leaving a trail of destruction.
According to Mullins, ‘optimum level of preparedness should be maintained’.
“In 1988 there were two back to back storms in September and October, people took down their shutters and were caught. If we remember Luis, we won’t be caught off guard,” he said.
Head of the Antigua & Barbuda Met Services, Keithley Meade explained that owing to the presence of a high level of Saharan Dust over the Atlantic Ocean, tropical systems are being stifled.
The sun is being blocked from warming the ocean; hence when depressions come into contact with the cooler water, they lose intensity.
Clearing of the dust could however mean trouble for the region.
The hurricane season runs annually from June 1 to November 30.
Drop, Cover, Hold on!
Although the experts say the minor earthquakes felt across portions of the island recently may not necessarily be indicative of anything major, the drop, cover, hold on drill should not be forgotten.
According to Keithly Meade, Director of the Antigua & Barbuda Met Services, “The region is built on seismic activity, and tremors occur very often, however some of them are so far below the earth’s surface that they are not felt.”
He also explained that pressure is being released from the earth and may delay a major earthquake.
Meanwhile, Director of the National Office of Disaster Services, NODS, Philmore Mullin said that if building codes fail, the nation will suffer the consequence of huge quake.
Mullin said that if Antigua were struck by a Haiti type shake; which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, buildings on reclaimed lands would not be able to stand.
Based on his expertise in disaster management, he added that the damage would not be as great as Haiti’s.
While speaking on a local TV show, he reminded residents of the importance of the drop, cover, hold on drill. He suggested that this exercise could avoid panic.
Since earthquakes are known to trigger tsunamis, Mullin also advised that save areas have been identified in Antigua. He said that his department is currently in the process of informing the public of these points.
It is historically possible for the Caribbean to be hit by the monster waves.
According to the records, the region has been impacted 74 times by Tsunamis, with one stretching from as far away as Spain.