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Thompson: Jamaica must remain alert for hurricanes

Published:Monday | September 2, 2019 | 12:15 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Evan Thompson
Evan Thompson

As Hurricane Dorian ravaged The Bahamas yesterday, Evan Thompson, director of the Meteorological Service in Kingston, warned Jamaicans not to drop their guard as the storm season picks up steam.

Speaking with The Gleaner, the veteran meteorologist said Jamaicans should be mindful that the second half of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season – which runs from June 1 to November 30 – could produce increased weather activity and threats to the island.

“Usually, the second half is more active than the first, and so we can very well get a rapid development of systems over the next couple of months into November,” Thompson explained.

He said the original projections at the beginning of the season were that there could be between 10 and 19 tropical storms through to November, with between four and nine developing into hurricanes. Meteorologists are also expecting about four major hurricanes.

“We don’t know when these systems will develop. Right now, there is no prediction that Jamaica could be hit, but we could wake up tomorrow and hear that a system is developing and could pose significant threat,” said Thompson.

The Met Service director said the peak of the season, which is usually around the first half of September, is notorious for “the greatest levels of developments and incidents of activity.

“We have to maintain our preparedness and alertness,” he said.

Thompson said global warming could be behind the rapid manner in which Dorian developed into a major hurricane.

“The hurricane developed very quickly, which speaks to the prediction under the climate change scenario, that we could see more rapid developments and stronger systems,” he said.

After it leaves The Bahamas, Dorian will threaten Florida and South and North Carolina.

“Bahamas is where we are really concerned about now. Some parts will definitely get a severe impact. I am not sure how much impact Nassau will get, but they will receive some rainfall and gusty winds,” Thompson added.