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TTC Special: Caribbean hurricanes soon return


The experience accumulated by the Caribbean region to face hurricanes now serves also for preparations against the effects of climate change.

TTC Service.- After a period of atmospheric  peace, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the United States  southern  are  preparing  again  their  annual “war” against hurricanes.
Hurricanes can occur in any month, but the official season in the Caribbean lasts for 6 months from May 1 to November 30.

Global warming has had the effect of making more dangerous the  hurricanes. Unlike tornados and earthquakes, hurricanes can be tracked for several days prior to arriving at a particular point, and everybody can alter their plans accordingly.

That’s why detecting these storms, the warning systems, and preparedness plans to face it are crucial. The United States has the most modern and extensive system in the region for that kind of tasks.

In order to maintain that reputation, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters” and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center partnered together for another year to promote hurricane preparedness through the Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour April 9-17.

The purpose of this tour, also known as the CHAT, is to raise hurricane awareness across Latin America and the Caribbean, and to maintain and expand partnerships among the NHC, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Air Force and neighbors in the region.

The Hurricane Hunters and NHC officials stopped at four different locations during their tour; two were in Mexico – Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, and two were in the Caribbean – the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. NHC officials taking part in the tour were Dr. Rick Knabb, NHC director, Lixion Avila, NHC senior hurricane specialist, and Gladys Rubio, Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch meteorologist.

Almost at the same time, in Bridgetown, Barbados, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) announced the project “Strengthening Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies and Capacities for Resilience in the Caribbean”, that is supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), during the Disaster Risk Reduction Development Partners Meeting which took place on April 7th, 2016 in Barbados.

The purpose of the project is reinforcing disaster risk reduction and creating a resilience culture in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean is region prone to different natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis and others. Most countries are Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which can be disproportionately affected by disasters due to their unique vulnerabilities. Climate change exacerbates the effects of disasters.

In the Caribbean some countries already have advanced methods of detection and tracking hurricanes and programs to reduce its catastrophic effects.

One of these countries is Cuba, which currently increases its cooperation with U.S. in the meteorological field thanks to the so called “thaw” between the two nations. Cuba has extensive experience in hurricane preparedness, and routinely advises other countries in the area. Cuban hurricane research and preparedness services routinely communicate with the National Hurricane Center in Miami to exchange data and collaborate on storm forecasting. The level of cooperation has increased dramatically in the last 6 months.

Cuban hotels on the beach are built to international standards. Each has a specific plan for visitors to remain in place or to be evacuated inland. Each room will have specific instructions in case a hurricane watch or hurricane warning is issued.

The experience accumulated by the Caribbean region to face hurricanes now serves also for preparations against the effects of climate change, which can cause biblical disasters over the years, as to make disappear  small islands because of the elevation  of the sea level.