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‘We must not be caught off-guard’

Hurricane Franklin, the first major storm of 2023 (File photograph)

The national security minister, Michael Weeks, has urged the island’s residents to get ready for hurricane season, saying: “We must not be caught off-guard.”

The season officially starts todayand forecasters said there could be an above-average number of hurricanes.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Mr Weeks said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Centre had forecast an 85 per cent chance of an above-normal season this year, with 17 to 25 named storms.

He added: “NOAA has predicted that eight to 13 of those storms will become hurricanes, including four to seven major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher.

“AccuWeather further cautions that increased sea temperature makes it more likely that hurricanes may develop rapidly.”

Mr Weeks told MPs: “This means that storms have the potential to increase wind intensity by at least 35mph in 24 hours or less.

“This data is cause for concern and we all must be vigilant throughout the coming months.”

Bermuda escaped relatively lightly last year although it had some close calls — among them Hurricane Franklin, the first major storm of the year on August 30.

He said: “If there are any lessons learnt from 2023, these should be included in updated plans.

“People should confirm that their property insurance is up to date, as well as create a hurricane supplies checklist and ensure that the necessary items are on hand.

“We should include a two-week supply of medications and non-perishable food items to sustain members of the family for up to three days.”

Mr Weeks added: “It is not too soon to start preparations. Families should meet to discuss their hurricane plans for the season.

“Bermuda has successfully weathered many active hurricane seasons — pun intended. This might induce a false sense of security among the public and cause us to become complacent.

“I urge each of us to not let our guard down and to remain safeguarded and prudent. I hasten to reiterate my earlier comment that predictions this year indicate that hurricanes will form faster than in previous years with very little warning.

“It only takes one storm to directly impact Bermuda to cause major disruptions to our daily lives and stability. I urge the public to use the time now to make sure that proper preparations for hurricane season are made.”

• To read the minister’s full statement, see Related Media.

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Published June 01, 2024 at 7:57 am (Updated June 01, 2024 at 8:11 am)

‘We must not be caught off-guard’

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