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damage after being hit by a tornado.

While the residents of Bob's Valley in Sandys Parish were hit and hit hard on Tuesday when the tornado came ashore,


damage after being hit by a tornado.

While the residents of Bob's Valley in Sandys Parish were hit and hit hard on Tuesday when the tornado came ashore, the damage could have been far worse and we should give thanks that no-one was seriously injured.

The Island's emergency services and the Emergency Measures Organisation also responded well, as they did last year when another tornado hit St. David's, showing most of the lessons of Hurricane Emily appear to have been learned well.

Whether it can be scientifically proven or not, there does appear to be something awry with weather patterns and the incidence of natural disasters seems to be increasing.

There is a need for a better system of detecting and reporting water spouts and weather systems.

The US Navy Oceanography Command Facility is efficient and with some notable exceptions, including Emily, it is as accurate as it possibly can be.

But water spouts and tornadoes are unpredictable and it is time to attempt to develop some kind of early warning system which might give people some notice that they may be at risk.

This might enable residents to prepare for the storm and, if possible, to evacuate their homes. Clearly, this cannot be a perfect system, but it could help.

It is also time that Bermuda started examining the feasibility and cost of running its own weather forecasting service in the event that the US Navy does decide to leave the Island. Developing systems with the help of Harbour Radio and local boaters and fishermen to give early notice would be a good place to start.

That lesson apart, Government and groups involved with emergencies appear to have a handle on most foreseeable problems. We still have to be careful not to become complacent about tornados or major storms. Just because we have been lucky in the past and avoided major damage and serious injuries does not mean there will not be a time when we suffer more major damage or experience serious injuries.

With news from the Miami Hurricance Centre that it is expecting an unusually active hurricane season, now is not the time to let our guard down.

That apart, it is once again the indomitable spirit of Bermudians in the face of natural disasters that stands out. We saw it after Emily and we saw it in St. David's last year. Now we have seen it again.

In an increasingly materialistic and selfish world, it is always reassuring to see people come forward to help those in need.

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