PORT-AU-PRINCE — With 19 tropical storms, including four hurricanes, expected to hit Haiti during this hurricane season, authorities said they want people to be vigilant and ready to seek safety when prompted.
“I would like to tell the people to follow local authorities’ advice, to listen to the radio to stay informed of bad weather,” Jean Julien Jimmy, manager of Civil Protection, said during the June 1 press conference at Port-au-Prince City Hall.
Four of the storms could be category three or higher, with winds forecast at approximately 185km/hour, well into major storm designation on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Leaders of the hydro meteorological unit and emergency preparedness also confirmed in a press release that nearly 20 storms are expected. They point out that Haiti is on the path of cyclones and emphasize the need for residents in at-risk areas to be vigilant and to follow instructions from authorities.
The Atlantic basin overall is expected to have above-normal activity this season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30. Average sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central tropical Atlantic are currently close to average, while surface temperatures of the Caribbean sea and Subtropical Atlantic are warmer.
From these observations, meteorologists report above average probability for major hurricanes to make landfall along the continental coast of the United States and the Caribbean.
Haiti is the fifth country most exposed to natural disasters in the world, according to the United Nations Unit for the Reduction of Risks and Disasters. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti with heavy flooding and landslides. Five-hundred and forty-six people died, 439 were injured and 128 were reported missing, authorities said.