Yes people, the Hurricane season is here again and it started off with a bang with Tropical storm Arthur-the first named storm of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season, developing off the coast of Mexico over the last weekend.
The weak tropical storm quickly made landfall over the Belize/Mexico border one day before the official start of the season.
Arthur dumped ten inches of rain over 36 hours across Belize causing flooding in low-lying areas, leaving four dead and three people missing.
Experts are speculating over whether or not climate change will have an impact on future hurricane seasons.
Have your say: do you think that climate change will cause more global warming and in turn cause more intense hurricane seasons?
The main 2008 hurricane season outlook from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC), is in collaboration with scientists from the NOAA National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Hurricane Research Division (HRD) predicts a below â€“normal hurricane season. But the center also predicts that thereâ€™s a 65% chance of a â€œmost likelyâ€ above â€“normal season and also a 25% chance of a near-normal season.
Personally I donâ€™t trust predictions â€“ maybe thats why theyâ€™re called predictions. The best advice I can give everyone, is to make sure you take all the necessary precautions early (re-enforce them doors and windows, cut all hanging tree branches over the house, start storing up on batteries, lamps and tin food), so if they do come they will be unable to impose too much damage that might leave you homeless.
My professional career was with computers. Computer models, very complex mathematical solution programs, are run to make weather forecasts.
For years, the task was simply to create mathematical models that would be fairly accurate predictors. Early computers were so slow compared to today’s that it might take several days for a computer to run the program to “predict” the next day’s weather. But that was all right, because it was at least possible, with hindsight, to determine whether the model was any good.
I used to wonder what the weather service meant when it said “50% chance of rain”. I thought that they meant that they would be correct if it rained or if it did not, giving them a 100% accuracy record (I thought that would be cheating). But I learned that they meant that given the presently measured conditions, the is a 50% likelihood of rain the next day.
I also learned that the complexity of weather models increases very greatly as the forecast period lengthens. That is why today’s forecast for tomorrow is typically much more reliable than for a week from today. There is a trade-off: Long-term models can be made simpler so that they will run faster on the computer, but then they will be less accurate. Or they can be made very complex and take a long time to run, and might be quite accurate, but may not provide adequate forecast warning and preparation time. Also, those long but good computer runs can’t be checked until after the forecast period.
Most importantly, the longer the forecast the more general and less accurate it is likely to be. But we do know from experience when the hurricane season is, and it is wise to be prepared.
So what is hurricane season like in Dominica? I know you got pounded a couple of years ago, but what is ‘normal’ for you guys? And how is damage minimized? Do crops go in AFTER the season or before (to get the rain)? Are all houses built with block? How do you keep vehicles safe?
Hurricane season can be somewhat stressful – I can remember a year when we were threaten by two tropical storms in one week. Imagine that!
As for minimizing damage from hurricane – Dominica is naturally by being mountainous, which is the island best form of protection and considering also a large percentage of houses are built from concrete.
When it comes to protecting your vehicle, It’s my guess most people just park their vehicles in places they think are safe and just hope for the best.