Residents urged to finalise hurricane preparations as TS Bret sets sights on Leeward Islands.

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Tropical Storm Bret, formerly Tropical Depression AL92, as of 5 pm yesterday (Photo courtesy NOAA)
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Residents are being urged to ensure that their hurricane preparedness plans are finalised as Tropical Storm Bret approaches the Leeward Islands.

 The Antigua and Barbuda Met Services advised that Bret, the second named storm for the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season, formed late Monday afternoon. Packing winds at 40 miles per hour, Bret was located at 11.3 degrees north and 42.2 degrees west.

On its present track it could further develop into a hurricane by Thursday or Friday before reaching the islands of the Eastern Caribbean.

Earlier yesterday, the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) said the preparedness plans should include an emergency kit containing the items necessary for weathering a storm.

“We recommend that emergency kits should be stocked, and persons should take the steps to ensure that life and property are protected,” Midcie Francis, the public relations officer for NODS told Observer yesterday.

In a document released by NODS yesterday, items to include in the emergency kit are canned foods, water, flashlights, batteries, adequate medication, personal hygiene items, infant supplies, important documents, clothing, first-aid kits and blankets or sheets that can be used as bedding.

Additional preparations should involve the securing of windows and doors, having shutters on hand, pruning dead or dying trees and overhanging branches, clearing loose items and debris from the yard, and lowering television antennae and other protrusions.

For persons requiring shelter during a storm, NODS advises them to seek shelter with family and relatives first, with public shelters being the last resort. Francis reminded that guidelines of the public shelters should be adhered to, and individuals are responsible for bringing their own food and water.

The list of hurricane shelters for 2023 is available on the NODS Facebook page.

Francis advised that individuals should not seek to venture outside during the calm of the storm to check whether items are secure.

“During a hurricane, I know there’s a period where there is a calm, and sometimes you’ll find persons going outside to check that certain things are secured. We really want to ask persons to not do that,” she said.

However, she acknowledged that there are instances where it is necessary to secure items or move to a safer place in order to ensure the safety of the inhabitants of the house.

“Sometimes to save lives…there might be something that you can do, or you can find a safer place to shelter from the storm. So if that’s possible, we ask that you do this in a safe manner,” Francis added.

A tropical depression has maximum sustained winds of less than 39 mph. When a tropical depression become a tropical storm, it means that there are maximum sustained winds of 39 mph to 73 mph. Anything above 73 mph is classified as a hurricane. This is according to Dale Destin, Director of Meteorological Services at the V C Bird International Airport.

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