Disaster Preparedness – What you need to know about Hurricanes!

The destructive force of tropical storms and hurricanes come from four (4) areas: strong winds, heavy rains, crashing waves and storm surge.

As Anguilla is a low-lying island we are vulnerable to storm surge. A storm surge is a rise in the level of the sea and occurs when storm winds push water forward. As the storm nears land the normal level of the sea will rise, added to waves from high seas, this will see the waves crash further inland than normal during a storm.

Properties near the beach or waterline are always the most vulnerable and should also take extra care, although it is important for all properties to ensure their homes are protected.

What is the difference between a hurricane, a cyclone and a typhoon?

Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

 Tropical Cyclone/Hurricane Wind-speed categories

Category Sustained Winds Types of Wind Damage
Tropical

Depression

Up to 38mph
Tropical

Storm

39-73 mph

Hurricane

1 74-95 mph Very dangerous winds will produce some damage:
2 96-110 mph Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage:
3 (major) 111-129 mph Devastating damage will occur:
4 (major) 130-156 mph Catastrophic damage will occur
5 (major) 157 mph or higher Catastrophic damage will occur

What to expect from Different Storm Categories?

The chart above was developed by storm experts to show the type of damage each category of hurricane can cause.

It is import to know, however, that every system is different and behaves in its own way. The factors that determine how much damage a hurricane can cause include:

  • The wind speed
  • The amount of rainfall
  • How fast or slowly it is travelling; and
  • How compact or spread out the system is.

The amount of damage received also depends on how well individuals and the country on a whole have prepared.

Hurricane Local Statement/Alert 72 Hours (3 days) Away

The Department of Disaster Management constantly monitors the National Hurricane Centre. If a tropical depression/wave has the likely potential for developing into a Tropical Storm/Hurricane we will issue a local Alert.

This means that a tropical storm or hurricane may be a potential threat to Anguilla. You should check your emergency supplies kit and family disaster plan. If these are not in place you must start preparing your home and getting necessary supplies.

  • Check or assemble your emergency supply kit
  • Listen to the local Radio for the latest advisories and when shelters will be opened.
  • Check and confirm personal shelter and evacuation arrangements. Identify where you will go if you are told to evacuate. If you decide to stay with a friend or family make arrangements now.
  • Check and practice your family plan. If you do not have a family disaster plan organize your family so that everyone knows what they should be doing
  • If you are a visitor check with the owner/manager of your property about hurricane arrangements
  • Visitors may be advised to leave the island – Check with airlines on next and latest departure times

Hurricane Watch 48 Hours (2 days) Away

Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch are issued 48 hours in advance of anticipated tropical storm force winds.

During a watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.

  • Fill your vehicle with petrol
  • Check that flashlights are working and that you have spare batteries for them.
  • Check that you have a portable radio with spare batteries.
  • Continue to listen to your local radio stations for the latest broadcast advisories.
  • If you are a visitor check the owner/manager of the property has informed the tourist board of your details and arrangements
  • If you are a visitor make sure relations/friends are aware of your whereabouts and plans
  • Visitors should consider changing their departure times to leave Anguilla
  • Call the Department of Disaster Management if you have questions or need help

Hurricane Warning 36 Hours (1 ½ days) Away

When a Hurricane Warning is issued, it means that a hurricane is one day away from Anguilla. You should have prepared your home and gathered the necessary supplies needed to weather the hurricane by now. If you do not feel your home will withstand the storm, make moves to a shelter now.

  • Make sure cooking propane tanks are off and/or secured
  • Take down awnings and put up hurricane shutters.
  • Place your emergency kit so that you can get to it easily and quickly.
  • Wrap or place all important documents in a plastic container
  •  Keep listening to the local radio stations for the latest advisories and official warnings.
  • When you have completed your preparatory tasks, offer assistance to neighbours, especially the elderly and those with young children.
  • If you live in low lying areas or in weaker houses, give yourself enough time to evacuate to a safe location or shelter

During the Hurricane

If you live in a strong house, away from flood prone areas, stay inside the house during the hurricane.

  • Stay in the strongest room in the house, which is usually the room with the least number of windows.
  • Make sure you have your emergency supply kit or emergency supplies with you.
  • Stay indoors and keep away from glass windows.

DO NOT GO OUTSIDE even if it goes quiet outside.

This may mean that the eye is passing over you. The quiet period can last anywhere between a few minutes to more than an hour.

After the Hurricane

DO NOT GO OUTSIDE UNTIL THE ALL CLEAR IS GIVEN.

  • Check that all your family are ok and if there are any injuries that can be treated with First Aid do so.
  • Call your family emergency contact to let them know your conditions and that you are safe.
  • Keep your fridge and freezer doors closed in order to maintain coolness. Only open as and when needed

The Anguilla Warning System is here to protect you

During a crisis or emergency, the Anguilla Warning System will send you alerts via with updates on time-sensitive, critical information relating to an unfolding event.

When is activated, it’s faster to get essential information when you need it.

For more information on how to be prepared and the Anguilla Warning system, contact us on: (264) 497-2926 or 476-3622 or 584– 2707/08/09/10/11/12

www.ddmaxa.org

Local Radio Station Frequencies

  • Radio Anguilla – 95.5 FM
  • UpBeat Radio – 97.7
  • Kool FM -103.3
  • Klass FM – 92.9
  • Rainbow FM – 93.7
  • New Beginning Radio 99.3

Shelters

In Anguilla our shelters have traditionally been for use during a Tropical Storm/Hurricane. However, since we became TsunamiReady in 2012 the need for categories of Shelters became apparent.

There are 3 categories of Shelters in Anguilla – Hurricane, Tsunami and Emergency:

  1. Hurricane Shelter – as the name implies this shelter will only be used in the event of a hurricane. The building is able to withstand a category 5 hurricane and fulfils all other hurricane shelter needs but its location is within the designated unsafe area in the event of a tsunami.
    i. Alwyn Allison Richardson Primary School Hall, West End
    ii. Mount Fortune Seven-Day Adventist Church, Sandy Hill
  2. Tsunami Shelter – as the name implies this is a shelter that will only be used in the event of a tsunami. The buildings are not able to serve as hurricane shelters, but are big enough and meet the requirements of a shelter in a tsunami event in all other ways.
  3. Emergency Shelter – This type of shelter fulfills all shelter requirements and will be able to be used for ALL emergency events.
    i. Bethel Methodist Church Hall, South Hill
    ii. Zion Methodist Church, North Hill
    iii. Ebenezer Methodist Church, The Valley
    iv. First Baptist Church Pre-school, Welches

  • DO NOT burn a portable propane or charcoal heater or grill inside your home.
  • DO NOT go sight seeing you might put yourself and others in danger or hamper rescue or debris clearance operations.

Source: Department of Disaster Management

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