EDITORIAL: Safe and sound after the storm

IT’S pleasant to be able to report good news.

Hurricane Nicole has passed without major damage, it seems. We can be thankful for that mercy – particularly given all that Grand Bahama and Abaco went through with Hurricane Dorian.

But we should also give credit where it is due.

In this column ahead of the storm, we urged people to take the storm seriously – and people did.

Whether it was a matter of remembering all that had gone before with Hurricane Dorian, or simply being prepared, people stocked up on supplies, put up their shutters, prepared sandbags and more as the storm drew near.

NEMA did its job, issuing warnings to advise people of the coming storm, and people responded to those alerts, with many moving out to shelters as the storm arrived.

Not all evacuated, with the administrator of West End, Grand Bahama, pointing out many did not heed the call. Ricardo Ferguson said: “I am happy that the population of West End also fared well, despite not heeding the evacuation call.”

There is plenty of flooding in places, and an issue with a lack of drainage in some locations that could mean it will be a while before flood water brought by the storm surge or the pouring rain will ebb away.

Residents in Grand Bahama talked of water coming over the sea wall and coming to their doors but not much getting inside.

Still there were areas where perhaps some more preparation could have been done.

Over in Green Turtle Cay, the general manager of the Bluff House Beach Resort and Marina, talked of how the storm felt stronger than expected. Molly McIntosh said: “Nicole was stronger, certainly than I thought it was going to be, it had much more of an impact than I thought it would and I think most of the people on Green Turtle Cay kind of felt the same way, that we just weren’t quite prepared. We had a little shock there, because it was stronger and longer than we thought.

“We had several trees come down, we had a little bit of roof damage. We have metal roofs and some of them flipped back and we have to get that repaired. Water came up over the docks.”

All told, though, The Bahamas appears to have fared well in the storm – and we should not just accept that fact, but celebrate it.

Because there is bad news too. Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis sounded the alarm this week that climate issues are only going to get worse – and in today’s Tribune, a meteorologist warns that with ocean waters warming up, the chances of seeing more storms like Nicole, a hurricane late in the season, are higher than previously.

Wade Szilagyi said: “November is at the tail end of the hurricane season and it is unusual to get a hurricane and so this was an unusual event with Hurricane Nicole. But because the waters, the ocean waters, have been above average for this time of the year, the chances of seeing something this late in the season or even another hurricane are higher than the average.

“So you know the question does arise: does climate change have something to do with more hurricanes or anything like that. The jury’s still out, we don’t know but one thing is for certain with increasing sea surface temperatures for sure, hurricanes will tend to be stronger in the future, as well as extend later in the season and we’re already starting to see that.”

So well done to all for playing their part in being ready for the storm. But know we’ll likely have to do so again. And again.

We have learned some of our lessons from storms such as Dorian. We have shown some of those lessons in preparing for Nicole. We will just have to keep learning, and when we need to do so – be ready.


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