Working torches? Check. Water purchased? Check. Boarded up windows? Check. All eyes to the skies and internet tracking? Check!
There is a fair amount to prepare during this season: For some, this is vacation time; school’s out and it’s time to go abroad – they watch the weather reports from afar and send prayers for loved ones and properties.
Others know that their floating homes might set sail to a new destination over the season; the mega yachts are often en route before the season arrives for insurance reasons.
The Trellis Bay boating community are intensely vigilant and if needed, many sail to Paraquita for the protection of this renowned hurricane hole – a successful move eases the mind.
Many prep long in advance, like some restaurants and hotels that will close for the season; mind you, some residents enjoy the peace of the quieter season and others the excitement of a possible hurricane.
As storms approach, the buzz begins – the island talks and you hear about some unnamed horror lining up for us out in the Atlantic – I’ve seen many a person glued to their cell phones or logging into their computers to monitor the foreboding activity.
I grew up in Canada so a quick tune in to the weather channel before a long winter drive was routine, but moving here, I became obsessed with checking the national hurricane site daily, watching patterns unfold and shift.
My first hurricane – which luckily we wound up on the edge of – involved a hurricane party, where we met at my neighbours with curry dishes, watched the rain come down in buckets, and the boat captains in our midst running out sporadically to check the boats.
Although a lifelong Tortolan, Sonia O’Neal states that her first conscious experience of a serious storm was 1989’s hurricane Hugo – after that she said hurricanes went from being a mild concern to an annual event. From little preparation to careful provisioning and replenishing of supplies, Sonia says she too is now glued to the charts and the weather updates.
If you’ve experienced them, natural hazards like the Canadian winter storms, Texan tornadoes, Earth Quakes in Turkey or Monsoons in Hong Kong breed a healthy respect for the weather and its force. If not and you’re a Newbie to the hurricane season, keep an ear open and do what I’m sure you will hear a hundred times in the next couple of months: Prepare!
For information provided directly by the DDM – the Government’s Department of Disaster Management – read the Virgin Islands Property and Yacht magazine article here
Below: NOAA May 2013 Report: