The Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) is preparing to roll-out its pre-hurricane season monitoring programme in earnest, while reminding Barbadians that it will take a few weeks for beaches to return to normalcy following storm events.

According to Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Leo Brewster, the pre-monitoring programme allows the department to better gauge the recovery time for beaches following tropical depressions, storm waves or other weather systems.

Dr. Brewster told the Barbados Government Information Service that next month the department was expected to commence its routine quarterly profiling programme, which often coincided with its pre-hurricane monitoring. He added that actual beach assessments were normally conducted towards the middle of July, for the areas traditionally worst hit during tropical depressions waves or storm waves impacting the coast.

"We are hoping that we would be able to roll-out the programme without a problem as we would normally do. This allows us to establish what the beach condition was like prior to the storm in terms of beach widths and total sand volumes. In so doing, it also helps us to gauge approximate time periods for recovery. So, after the storm event has passed or we have had the rough seas, we would normally allow a minimum of two weeks before we actually go back out, if it has been a really bad occurrence, to start monitoring to ascertain expected rates of recovery of the beach.

"Generally, we would like the public to bear in mind, once again, that when storm waves are affecting the coastline, you have to give some time for the beach to recover naturally. In exceedingly severe circumstances where there is significant property damage, there is an established procedure for the implementation of emergency engineering works through the Town and Country Development Planning Office," he disclosed.

Noting that, on average, it took approximately six to eight weeks for beaches to start to recover and return to near normalcy and back to the pre-event profile line, Dr. Brewster said this was what they would be mainly looking for.

"Sometimes, it will obviously be longer. If we have a series of storm events occurring one after the other within the space of say two weeks, then it becomes very difficult. Concern will, therefore, focus on how far offshore the sand is, which would then determine how long it will take for the beach to recover naturally," he underlined.

Dr. Brewster also echoed the sentiments of the Drainage Division in reminding persons that if they lived near culverts or drains that they should work as a community to ensure that, where practicable, they are kept clear and free of debris.

"If there is a problem you should contact the Division early, so that workers do not have to be called out to deal with the mitigation when flooding is actually taking place," he cautioned.


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