PHILIPSBURG--The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) is calling on the community to begin to prepare for the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1, and to have the necessary plans in place before the peak period of the season, which is from August to October.

The first named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season formed in April and was named Arlene. Arlene became only the second April storm on record and remained out in the open central Atlantic Ocean. The first April storm system was Ana in 2003.

This was the third consecutive year a storm system has formed in the Atlantic before the official June 1 start of the hurricane season, with 2014, 2015 and 2016 reporting storm formation before June 1.

The remaining storm names for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season are Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.

ODM urges residents to use the next few weeks to prepare adequately by reviewing annual hurricane season preparatory lists. It adds that the country’s disaster preparedness and emergency management mechanisms will be ready to deal with any eventuality arising during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

“As we do for every hurricane season, preparing for a storm strike is necessary. Every household and business should take the necessary precautions by preparing, because it only takes one hurricane strike to make it a bad season.

“Check your disaster plan and review your disaster supply kit. Prepare early and avoid being caught unprepared. Minimise your dependence on Government, family or friends. Preparedness starts with every one of us within our communities,” ODM said.

Some of the preparations that should be carried out now are checking hurricane shutters and the roofs of homes and/or businesses, and making sure windows and shutters close securely.

Persons living in coastal areas and those in flood-prone areas should start looking at what measures they would take in the event of a hurricane, which could cause flood challenges.

Mariners who are seeking shelter in Simpson Bay Lagoon or Oyster Pond should also make plans to stay with friends or at a hotel until the storm has passed, rather than staying on board the vessel.

The hurricane season officially runs through to November 30.

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