The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season ends today, November 30, without much of an impact on the islands where this newspaper is published. But while it may be called a “quiet” year here, that was certainly not the case in a broader sense.
There were no fewer than 18 named storms, considerably more than the average 12, with six hurricanes of which three became major. Of course, it only takes one, as the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama tragically experienced.
St. Maarten’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Office of Disaster Management (ODM) were activated three times for Dorian, Jerry and Karin. However, the country was largely spared any serious inclement weather.
Truth be told, the relatively uneventful past two seasons were a blessing for the local area still recovering from monster Hurricanes Irma and Maria of September 2017. It was consequently almost impossible to be in a high state of readiness with, for example, proper shelters yet to be built.
There is thus a lot to rejoice about starting at Sunday afternoon’s annual Thanksgiving Service, without forgetting those in the region who weren’t that lucky. Same as others have sympathised with St. Maarten/St. Martin after calamities, so too the population must keep them in mind during times of crisis.
But make no mistake, a lot remains to be done for “The Friendly Island” to become more resistant to what appear to be increasingly strong tropical systems. The next hurricane season starts in just six months.