7 tips for travellers during the 2018 Hurricane Season

Hurricane season 2018: lessons learnt

After an unprecedented Atlantic season in 2017 highlighting how difficult it is to forecast hurricanes, we offer preparation methods to be considered when travelling to at risk areas over the coming months.

While the hurricane season has already begun in the Eastern Pacific, the season in the Atlantic basin officially begins on 1st June and ends on 30th November. Although hurricanes, tropical storms or depressions can occur at any time of the year, it is during these months that we typically see the most significant weather systems develop.

1. Expect disruption over the hurricane season: Operations are likely to be disrupted due to adverse weather conditions at various points over the season, even if major damage is not recorded. Be aware that in strong winds, phone lines, networks and the power supply are likely to go down. Travel should be planned in advance and alternative routes identified.

2. Stay abreast of local weather warnings: The relevant authorities will issue warnings if bad weather or disruption is forecast. Keep up-to-date by monitoring local news, weather and government sources. If a hurricane warning is issued, it is advisable to check the forecast hourly. Some recommended sources include the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

3. Find shelter: Contact the local authorities for information on official emergency shelters if seeking a safe haven for personnel in the event of future storms. Preference should be given to locations away from coastal areas and on higher ground.

If no arrangements have been made in advance, other types of shelter can be basements or accredited, well-constructed hotels (interior rooms, second floor preferable).

4. Have a ‘grab bag’: Pack a grab bag of essential supplies that will allow you to depart at short notice and be self-sufficient for a period of 72 hours.

This should include first aid supplies, a torch with spare batteries, pocket recharging devices, a secondary source of communication, any personal medication, a change of clothes, toiletries, bottled water, cash and copies of any essential personal documentation should there be a need to evacuate the country.

5. Familiarise yourself with emergency response protocols: Make sure you are aware of company emergency protocols, internal communications channels for use in emergency situations as well as the local state’s emergency numbers.

6. Ensure vehicles are suitable for terrain: Heavy rain can cause significant problems on the roads, so ensure vehicles used are appropriate for floodwaters. Do not attempt long distance journeys in areas that are affected by strong winds or flooding.

7. In case of impending storm, follow directives issued by local authorities: Warnings and directives may be shared by the local authorities, or over local and social media. If the local authorities decide to evacuate whole towns and villages, or relocate people away from the most vulnerable districts of towns, follow their instructions and leave if advised to do so, ensuring you leave enough time to allow for road closures and directives issued at short notice.

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