PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially started on June 1, and the country will be entering within the next two weeks the peak weeks of the season, the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) said on Thursday.
COCI is calling on the business community to be prepared as hurricanes are an inevitable part of doing business in the Caribbean. Hurricanes generate a series of threats to lives and property. The most obvious is the threat posed to buildings, equipment, and people due to destructive winds, excessive rainfall, flooding and storm surges.
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. The forecast for the 2019 season according to the U.S. National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center has forecasted that its most likely the Region will see a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
NOAA predicts between nine to 15-named storms, of which four to eight could become hurricanes, and two to four could develop into major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds above 111 miles per hour or higher). So far, the season has seen two-named storms form, Andrea and Barry.
The country’s resilient tourism industry is in the recovery phase and still fragile. Much has been achieved within the past 23-months since the hurricanes of September 2017. Parts of business and tourism infrastructure has been rebuilt back better, but every business operation must have a hurricane response plan and procedures in place in order to be better prepared and to recover quickly after a hurricane strike.
Hurricane response plans and procedures should comprise of action steps that limit the long-term impacts on the tourism and business sector. COCI is calling on employees of all businesses to prepare for the hurricane season and for business owners and employees to work together in making those preparations.
The three critical stages of disaster management are preparation, response and recovery. COCI is calling on the business community to review their hurricane preparation plans which entails securing your business operation to minimize infrastructure damage, loss of property and business revenues. Be Prepared!