Hurricane Season Is Here

A number of storms are forecasted, but who knows what kind of weather they’ll bring

We’re already two months into the official hurricane season (which runs until November 30), and so far all we’ve seen some rain and clouds from Tropical Storm Dora. Another storm, Eugene, was quickly downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm and passed by without any noticeable effects.

But, that doesn’t mean the worst still isn’t yet to come.

hurricane.JPGThere are 16 named tropical cyclones are planned for the Northeast Pacific Ocean basin and 11 for the Atlantic Ocean (remember, we’re in both), which gives us a total of 37 forecasted storms. Well, 35 now that Dora and Eugene have already gone by.

In the Northeast Pacific Ocean basin, of the 16 named cyclones, six are forecasted to be tropical storms, four strong hurricanes (category one or two), and six intense hurricanes (categories three, four or five). For the Atlantic basin, of the 11 named tropical cyclones, it’s predicted that seven of them will be tropical storms, two strong hurricanes and two intense hurricanes.

The city has been working to make sure everyone and everything is as prepared for a big storm as can be. In June, Los Cabos Mayor Arturo de la Rosa spoke at the inauguation of the Municipal Council of Civil Protection, which will work to prepare and protect residents during a storm.

"Our commitment is to preserve the lives, health and integrity of local citizens and tourists, so we must be prepared, organized, coordinated and aware of the great responsibility involved in dealing with any type of contingency," he said.

There are plans to have 50 temporary shelters in Los Cabos. The city has also identified areas of risk, as well as families living in dangerous areas that might need to be evacuated.

Cabo’s Integral Port Administration (API) partnered earlier this year with the Mexican Navy in the Civil Protection Committee. The committee is responsible for determining what resources – material, human and fiscal - the maritime community has when a hurricane is imminent.

“We must be very organized in the matter of communication, equipment, material, everything concerning facing a phenomenon like the one that happened to us like Hurricane Odile,” said Héctor Montaño, director of API.

The Navy and API have also partnered to form a supply committee, which will keep track of the supplies on hand and make sure they’re organized and well stocked in advance, rather than waiting until a storm hits and then discovering there’s nothing there.

Montaño said every storm seasons brings lesson as to what needs to improve, in regards to the infrastructure of the Navy and new strategies needed to improve security and communication during a storm.

Speaking of communications, Conagua (the national water commission) and the National Meteorological Service urged the population to be constantly informed when there is a storm. You can keep up to date on weather alerts at www.gob.mx/conagua.

And if you need help decoding what each color of the early warning system means, here’s the breakdown. There are five colors in the alert system: blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Blue is the lowest alert, and is activated when there is a storm that warrants attention but has a minimal threat of danger.

Green is also low risk, but at that level residents are encouraged to prune tree branches that could knock down power lines, protect glass with cross-tape, and fix objects that can be tossed around by the wind.

A yellow alert is activated when the storms represents a moderate danger. This is the time to make sure you know the location of the nearest temporary shelter and the quickest way to get there. It’s also recommended to store potable water, food and emergency supplies in a safe place, and stash your important documents in plastic bags.

With an orange alert, residents must evacuate risk areas and move to shelters if their home is not safe. Others are encouraged to monitor the water levels, close doors and windows, and cut off the water and gas supply.

And when the big one is coming, the red alert is activated. That’s when you take cover, away from the windows, and stay put until the storm is over and authorities have given the all clear to come out. We’re tempted to make that joke about putting your head between your knees and kissing your butt goodbye, but we’ll refrain. We’re a serious newspaper, after all.