June 1 marked the official start of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, and the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (Met Service) is reporting that activity over the six-month period is expected to be average to below average.
Acting Director of the Met Service, Jeffrey Spooner, informed that 10 named storms have been forecast and the number of active days in the season have been reduced to approximately 40 days.
He was speaking at a press conference to launch Disaster Preparedness Month on June 1, at the headquarters of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in New Kingston.
Over the last 30 years, the average hurricane season has produced 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major ones, and 60 active days.
Of the 10 storms this year, four are likely to become hurricanes and two intense hurricanes (category 3 and above).
Mr. Spooner warned that though reduced activity is expected this season, Jamaicans should not become complacent, but still prepare, as “the possibility exists that we could be impacted and impacted significantly. One system can cause severe hardship, significant loss of life, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a hurricane it could be a storm (or) tropical disturbance”.
Disaster Preparedness Month is being observed under the theme: ‘Embrace Climate Change Realities…Build Disaster Resilient Communities’. The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter