It is that time of the year when we start watching the weather closely. Living in the Caribbean, one becomes obsessed with weather watching as the summer rolls on. As Caribbean weather watchers we wait for the “blobs” to appear and we scrutinize and speculate. We search out the spaghetti models to see if we are in the predicted path or the cone of doom as we like to call it. Unlike tornado’s and other natural disasters, weather models and their predicted storm paths can be seen days in advance giving you time to prepare.
Common weather terms and what they actually mean.
• Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions are possible in the area.
• Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the area.
Watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.
• Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions are expected in the area.
• Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the area.
Warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of tropical storm force winds
Whether you live in the Caribbean or are just visiting it is important to know what the weather is doing and have an emergency plan. Power outages are a big part of island living whether there is a storm or not. It is always smart to keep your electronic devices charged. Other details that should be attended to are:
• Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 3 days)
• Water (enough to last at least 3 days)
• First-aid kit (include any prescription medication you may need)
• Personal hygiene items and sanitation items
• Flashlights (have extra batteries on hand)
• Battery operated radio (again, have extra batteries)
• Waterproof container with cash and important documents (zip lock bags work great)
• Manual can opener
• Lighter or matches
• Books, magazines, games for recreation
• Special needs items: pet supplies and baby supplies if applicable
• Cooler and ice packs
• A plan for evacuation and for if family members are separated
• Full tank of fuel for vehicles, boats and generators.
If you are chartering a boat, due to insurance clauses, you will be put ashore at your expense – that is where Trip Insurance comes in handy. If you are staying in a villa or hotel it is wise to find out ahead of time what their emergency plan is and where the nearest shelter is located.
Lets hope for a safe and quiet season!