Too close for comfort

Too close for comfort

Indications are that Tropical Storm Lee will pass some 200 miles northeast of the island (see related story) Saturday night. To what extent that should be considered a relatively safe distance depends on the cyclone’s size and strength.

It is rather large and expected to be a major hurricane of up to category 4, so people must definitely not let their guard down. The projected paths of such systems also tend to shift considerably as Hurricane Idalia recently did while in the Gulf of Mexico en route to Florida’s west coast.

St. Maarten’s National Disaster Coordinator and Fire Chief Clive Richardson announced that the Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) are on alert as a precautionary measure. That indeed seems like an adequate decision, because any turn of just one degree or two in either direction could make a world of difference.

Even if the current forecast track holds, especially the French side may still face sustained hurricane- or at least storm-force winds with higher guests and high seas, apart from heavy rains. In that sense, the fact that the worst of the weather is usually on the northeast side can be seen as a small positive.

A prudent approach is nevertheless called for in this case, as – generally speaking – it pays to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Do so early, because, for example, plywood to cover windows and/or doors could prove scarce once the disturbance approaches.

Most important, stay calm and avoid panic. This might prove little more than another near miss with limited impact in the end.

However, as of now it’s simply too close for comfort.


The Daily Herald

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