Met official stresses the importance of preparedness

One hit is all that it takes to set Barbados back by a long way.

That was the stern warning from Deputy Director of the Barbados Meteorological Office Clairmount Williams as the country was today spared the direct impact of the first tropical system to threaten the island this hurricane season.

A tropical storm warning was discontinued as of 8 a.m. today, prompting a collective sigh of relief.

However, the Barbados Meteorological Services issued a flood watch, advising that “a band of showers propagating northwest-wards” from the weather system would bring “some moderate to heavy showers” across the island this afternoon, accompanied by brisk surface winds of 35 to 50 kilometres per hour, with higher gust near showers, and up to two inches of rainfall.

“Some flash-flooding is likely in low-lying areas. Thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions,” it said in a release early this afternoon.

A major worry for disaster management officials over the years is the “God is a Bajan” mentality adopted by some Barbadians who seem not to take hurricane preparedness seriously.

Close encounters such as today’s discontinued watch appear to stiffen this sentiment.

However, Williams is warning residents to guard against complacency, while offering “the same precautions that we try to advise on a yearly basis – try not to pay attention to the numbers, bear in mind that we are in the hurricane season and it only takes one system to create problems. One direct hit can set us back years, so we continue to advise preparation and precaution”.

Meanwhile, Williams said the Met office was tracking “a couple of waves over the Atlantic”, none of which appear to have the potential at this time to develop into a major tropical system.  

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