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Acting Director of the Barbados Meteorological Services, Hampden Lovell. (Photograph compliments the Ministry of Agriculture.)

Barbadians have been warned – treat every tropical wave as if it could be the next major hurricane!

Acting Director of the Barbados Meteorological Services, Hampden Lovell, issued this caution as he reminded residents that it only takes one major system to hit Barbados or the region and create havoc.

Speaking during a press conference hosted by the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) to mark the start of the 2013 season, Mr. Lovell implored residents to "take heed of all of the watches and warnings coming out of the Met Office, and to see every tropical wave coming across the Atlantic as a potential hurricane".

He explained that the 2013 forecast, issued on April 10, by Professor Gray and his colleagues from Colorado State University, forecast an above normal hurricane season this year with 18 named storms, of which nine are expected to become hurricanes, and produce four major hurricanes.’

Mr. Lovell noted these predictions were based on the present warmth of the tropical waters in the Atlantic and the fact that there was no El Nino predicted this year.

However, the Acting Director has warned residents not to rely solely on numbers predicted this hurricane season, as last year’s forecast was for a below average season with 12 named storms, of which five would become hurricanes and two major hurricanes being predicted.

He said last year’s season saw 19 named storms developing, of which ten became hurricanes and one major hurricane, which came to be known as Super Storm Sandy. "The actual figures were higher than the forecasted figures," he said, noting none of the systems directly impacted on the Eastern Caribbean.

Mr. Lovell reminded members of the public not to forget that the 20-year period of above normal hurricane activity, which started in 1995, was still in effect. "The forecast of 18 named storms, of which nine are expected to become hurricanes and four major hurricanes, is way above the 2010 long-term average which is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes," he noted.??

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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