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Hurricane prepare

Storm Warning

When it comes to hurricanes, being prepared is half the battle

William Lusk Photo

By William Lusk
Program Manager, O.C.E.A.N.S. LLC


Caribbean residents and stakeholders are all too familiar with hurricanes – natural phenomena that ought to be feared and respected because of their awesome power. With sustained winds of at least 64 knots, these storms leave paths of indiscriminate destruction and death.

Each hurricane, despite unique characteristics, comes from the maritime domain and has the potential to cause substantial damage to bridges, navigable waterways, vessels, coasts and port/facility critical infrastructure. The official start date of the 2017 hurricane season is 1 June, so the opportunity for preventative planning is rapidly drawing to a close.

Determining risk

According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Port of Cartagena in Colombia has experienced only two hurricanes within a 65 nautical mile radius since modern hurricane tracking began in 1851. By comparison, the Port of Bridgetown in Barbados has experienced 81 hurricanes passing within the same range and timeframe. Although it is reasonable to conclude that a terminal in Barbados is more likely to encounter a storm than one in Colombia, it would be wrong to conclude that the same terminal in Barbados is more at risk merely based on probability alone.

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