Governor Augustus Jaspert has urged residents of the British Virgin Islands to begin preparations for the upcoming 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season which researchers predict to be very active.
In a statement on May 8, Governor Jaspert said despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, every passing week brings the season closer.
“I would like to take this opportunity to remind you to start preparing now. I know you will be very familiar with the steps you need to take and will likely have plans in place, but this year will be different. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by COVID-19 and should review our existing plans to ensure COVID-19 measures are factored in,” he stated.
Governor Jaspert said a lot of work has been done from the government’s side and these will be revealed soon.
In the meantime, he said, the United Kingdom ‘continues to stand by the territory’.
Recently, the UK launched a 24/7 support centre for medical professionals in the BVI and other Overseas Territories.
“The UK is also helping us prepare for hurricane season, with RFA Argus in the region. I am sure many of you saw the helicopters flying over the other week to identify possible landing sites that could be used to deliver relief during the upcoming hurricane season should we need it,” the Governor noted.
Meanwhile, hurricane researchers at the Colorado State University have predicted an ‘above-average’ Atlantic Hurricane Season for this year, pointing to the likely absence of El Nino as a ‘primary factor’.
El Nino is a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, online research explained.
The researchers said: “Tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are currently warmer than their long-term average values and are consequently also considered a factor favouring an active 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season.”
Due to the ‘somewhat warmer than normal’ sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic, it provides more fuel for tropical cyclone formation and intensification, the researchers further said.
The university’s tropical meteorology project team has predicted 16 named storms during the upcoming hurricane season.
Of the 16 storms, these researchers are predicting that eight will go on to become major hurricanes with categories of three, four and five strengths and winds of 111 miles per hour in some cases.
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