The hurricane season for our region, which covers the North Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico officially starts today, Monday 01 June 2020.
This year we have had two pre-season named storms, Arthur and Bertha. They were both short lived and developed off the southeast coast of the United States in May.
Seasonal predictions from the major forecasting agencies concur that there will be above normal tropical cyclone activity in our region this year. The Colorado State University team in their latest forecast released on 02 April 2020, predict the formation of sixteen (16) named storms, of which eight (8) will develop into hurricanes with four (4) attaining major hurricane status.
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center scientists in their forecast released on 21 May 2020, predict a sixty (60) per cent probability of above normal cyclone activity this year. They have forecasted the formation of thirteen (13) to nineteen (19) named storms of which six (6) to ten (10) could become hurricanes including three (3) to six (6) major hurricanes.
Regardless of the pre-season predictions, the Saint Lucia Met Services advises all Saint Lucian residents and interests in our region, to exercise due diligence in their planning and preparation for the hurricane season. We encourage you to consistently follow regional weather developments and to pay particular attention to local weather reports, advisories and bulletins issued by the Saint Lucia Meteorological Services.
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) will also be issuing important instructions and information which you are strongly advised to follow. Pre-season rainfall over Saint Lucia this year has generally been below normal and this trend is likely to continue into July. Heavy rainfall episodes are an expected feature of our rainy season and in general, the occurrence of flooding and landslides will remain a major concern this year. Extensive brush fires during this dry season have destroyed some of the protective canopy on slopes in certain areas, thereby increasing the risk of landslides.
The Saint Lucia Meteorological Services will as usual be utilizing all available communication channels and facilities, including local news and social media, to transmit timely information to the Saint Lucian populace and other interested parties.