Editorial
December 6, 2022
Hurricane season over, but preparedness should continue

A LEADING REGIONAL meteorological organization has warned that the heavy rains experienced in the Caribbean over the past two months could continue in December and pose a risk of flooding during the Christmas season.

The Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) is based in Barbados and uses modern technology to constantly monitor the weather and look out for threats to the region.

One of its climatologists, Cedric Van Meerbeeck gave the early warning, saying that flooding is a bigger risk in December this year even though with the end of the hurricane season on November 30, the official dry season begins from December 1.

While he made it clear that he was not definitively predicting floods, he has put us on alert with a reminder that heavy rains in December are not unknown in the region.

In St Vincent and the Grenadines, we do not have to look far for an example of flooding and its devastating effects at this time of the year.

On December 24/25, 2013 heavy rains caused very serious damage in St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines and in the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines, loss of life.

The CIMH has said that the flood risk is greatest in the southern Caribbean from the Guianas up to the Windward Islands and Barbados. St Vincent and the Grenadines therefore is located right in the middle of the high risk area.

Usually, at the end of the hurricane season, we relax our guard when it comes to preparedness for hazards associated with heavy rains and high winds. But it appears that we can no longer do this.

We are fortunate that the 2022 hurricane season passed without major incident or even close shaves, despite the heavy rain.

But it appears that we are not out yet out of the woods. If therefore, we have not done so before, now is the time to ensure that our retaining walls are structurally sound; the drains and streams in our neighbourhoods and villages are clear; and there are no rocks or boulders overhanging our homes which may pose a threat should they loosen and fall during heavy rains.

The hurricane season may be over, but our preparedness should continue.