The annual six-month long Atlantic hurricane season begins today, Tuesday, June 1, 2010. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centre predicts an “active to extremely active” hurricane season.
NOAA’s 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Prediction
NOAA is projecting a 70% probability of 14 to 23 Named Storms occurring with top winds of 39 mph or higher, including eight to 14 Hurricanes, with top winds of 74 mph or higher, of which three to seven could be Major Hurricanes, Category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of at least 111 mph.
Summary of NOAA’s 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Prediction:
- 14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
- 8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
- 3 to 7 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)
Commenting on this year’s prediction, Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, said the following: “If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record. The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”
What does this mean for Jamaica and the Caribbean on a whole: PREPARE!!!
With the help of hurricane early warning capabilities like the above NOAA prediction and the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, who watches out for all meteorological events that can impact Jamaica, we are more prepared now than ever before. But the onus is on all of us as individuals to ensure our own personal safety.
Persons can visit the website of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) for more information on personal preparedness for hurricanes.
Hurricane Early Warning in Colonial Jamaica
So how did they prepare for hurricanes in the past without the help of these early warning technologies?
Without the aid of early warning technologies, the population of colonial Jamaica used past experiences with hurricanes and tropical storms to remind them of when to look out for them. In fact, there was a very popular little rhyme that reminded them exactly when to look out for these monster storms.
It goes like this:
June too soon
August come you must
October all over
June was never a popular month for hurricanes so hence the phrase “June too soon.”
Several hurricanes have been recorded as occurring in July during Jamaica’s history, but not as much as other months like August and September. In fact, August, September and October are considered the most active months during the hurricane season. So while a storm might occur during July, the rhyme alterted the public to standby for what will surely come in August: “August come you must.”
“September to remember” hints at what can be interpreted as a definitely active month for hurricanes. In fact, we have several very memorable hurricane events in Jamaica’s living memory that attests to this phrase. Does anyone remember hurricane Gilbert from September 10-12, 1988? How about hurricane Ivan on September 10, 2004? These were two very memorable and disastrous hurricane events in Jamaica’s history that the majority of us do well remember.
The phrase “October all over” is a commentary on the historical fact that hurricane activity in the Caribbean usually ceases at the end of this month. So people can start relaxing in October. But while there is no phrase about the possibility of November storms, there have been a small number of recorded hurricane events occuring during November in Jamaica’s history.
So as we move further into the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, I urge all Jamaicans to keep listening to their radios and televisions for updates on the season for the relevant authorities, such as the ODPEM and the Meteorological Service of Jamaica. If the season is to be as active as NOAA predicts then we are in for a bumpy ride!
Until next time…