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Flood-prone New Haven braces for hurricanes

Published:Tuesday | May 1, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter

When it rains it usually pours for residents in New Haven, west St Andrew. As it approaches another hurricane season, residents fear the worst might occur.

The Gleaner visited the area yesterday and already some residents are making preparations.

The flood-prone area is among 32 vulnerable communities that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is working along with to develop vulnerability-reducing projects.

This entails sensitisation and training programmes as well as mitigation projects and disaster plans.

Jennifer Simms, a community member, said since ODPEM has been working with persons in the community, the residents feel much safer.

"Some persons went on rescue training with ODPEM and these persons will be able to assist us if we experience flooding which is good because they have the training to do it on a professional level," she explained.

She, however, called for authorities to remedy the real problem of clearing the drains that are causing excessive flooding in the community.

Preparing sandbags

Alanzo Cooke said he was preparing sandbags, which he uses to bar his doors and windows to prevent flooding.

Cooke said he has also raised his doorway so the water won't easily get in.

Earlier at a press conference, acting director at the National Meteorological Service, Jeffrey Spooner, said two major hurricanes were expected to make landfall within the Caribbean region in this year's hurricane season, even though it was expected to be a less than active one.

Spooner said the season was expected to have reduced activity if it is compared to the 30-year climatologically mean of 1981 to 2010.

"This is as a result of cooling in the tropical Atlantic which has been observed over the past several months, however, what is appearing now is that the projection is for an El Niño type event late summer, early fall," he explained.

"That will also indicate that there might be a slight increase towards the end of the hurricane season. However, the projection is for a less than active hurricane season," Spooner continued.

He said there would be 10 named storms for the 2012 season, four of which are expected to become hurricanes.

He also argued that the number of tropical storm days projected for 2012 stands at 40.

Meanwhile, Ronald Jackson, director general of ODPEM, said despite expecting the season to be less active than normal it should be little or no comfort for persons as it only takes one tropical storm to create damage.