Storm brews in the Gulf as hurricane season opens

| 01/06/2023 | 0 Comments
The aftermath of Tropical Storm Grace in August 2021

(CNS): As the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially started on Thursday, an area of low pressure appeared over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico with a broad but well-defined circulation, and according to the National Hurricane Center, it was showing signs of organisation. Forecasters said environmental conditions remain marginally favourable for development, and a short-lived tropical storm could form today.

Meanwhile, down in the Caribbean Sea and the water around the Cayman Islands, heavy rain was still flooding some areas, but this trough is expected to drift away over the next day or so. The Cayman Islands National Weather Service was calling for scattered showers and cloudy skies tonight, with some thunder expected. But the outlook is for gradual improvement in cloudiness and a decrease in showers by Friday evening.

Extreme weather predictions for the next six months are more uncertain than usual, with hurricane forecasters unsure if this will be a quiet or busy season as the potential development of El Niño meets a warming ocean. But now the season has started, Hazard Management Cayman Islands is urging everyone to be prepared and to know where you and your family will shelter when a storm is predicted to come our way.

Simon Boxall, the communications officer at HMCI, said it is an anxious time for some, but there are things they can do to feel more secure and get through safely. He said HMCI was available round the clock to assist people in their preparations. With only enough government shelter space for around 8% of the population on Grand Cayman, compared to around 50% on the Sister Islands, it is essential that people have a plan about where and how they will ride out a storm safely.

“Preparation is key,” Boxall said, urging people to understand their risk. He said that lessons learned during Hurricane Ivan showed that those who prepared best, especially local businesses, were the ones who were back up and running the quickest after that catastrophic storm moved on.

But 19 years later, the impact of a hurricane like Ivan could be even worse, Boxall warned during a number of recent appearances on local radio this week. With development having encroached into the wetland areas over the last two decades, combined with a rise in sea level, the storm surge could be even more ferocious and certainly more damaging.

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

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