|Tropical storms spin to life before hurricane season|
|Thursday, 24 May 2012 17:12|
Although 2012 is predicted to be a year of less intense hurricane activity, tropical depressions have spun to life in both the Atlantic and Pacific for the first time ever before the season begins June 1.
Tropical Storm Aletta was named May 14 in the Pacific Ocean off the southern tip of Baja, California, but was downgraded to a depression May 19 and never threatened land.
Tropical Storm Alberto was the earliest-forming tropical storm in the Atlantic basin since Ana in 2003 when it was named May 19 off the Carolina coast of the United States. It stayed offshore sending strong surf to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but it moved away from shore and dissipated May 22.
On the same day Alberto fizzled, Tropical Storm Bud became the second named storm in the Pacific. It was located about 600 miles from Manzanillo on the west coast of Mexico, where it was forecast to make landfall in about a week.
The formation of two named storms in both the Pacific and Atlantic before the beginning of the season is a first, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
For the Turks and Caicos Islands and the rest of the Caribbean, William M. Gray and Philip J. Klotzbach of Colorado State University predict that the 2012 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have reduced activity compared to the years 1981-2010.
“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and it appears that the chances of an El Niño event this summer and fall are relatively high,” their April 4 report says. “We anticipate a below-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean. However, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
The new Ministry of Government Support Services has been working on hurricane readiness, including an Urban Search and Rescue Course that trained 29 government employees.
“I am confident that we continue to be well prepared for any emergency, including the forthcoming hurricane season,” said Dr. Virginia Clerveaux, deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Government Support Services.
“I am currently working closely with our international and regional partners such as the United Nations Development Programme and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency to ensure that the country is prepared through the provision of training and public education.”
The recent training was made possible by funding provided through U.N. Development Programme R3I project and the Pan American Health Organization.
Emergency responders from across the public sector completed training to carry out searches in the event of things like collapsed roof or flooded buildings. Other areas covered by the course included first response, including first aid; mass casualty handling; search techniques; hazardous material handling; rope rescue; stress management; lifting and shoring of loads.
Those trained came from Planning, Land and Survey, Fire and Rescue, Public Works, Red Cross, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Department of Environment and Coastal Resources, Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force and Immigration officials.
“I arrived in TCI after Hurricane Irene last year, and so have never experienced a hurricane directly myself,” said His Excellency the Gov. Ric Todd. “But I am reassured by the contents of this training course, informed greatly by the emergency response to the Haitian earthquake which happened only 90 miles away, that the Ministry of Government Support Services has this matter in hand.”
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