Bahamas hit by a major hurricane every 12 yrs

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June 30, 2010

There were three major hurricanes and one tropical storm to affect The Bahamas in 1926. This was an extremely active year for hurricanes making landfall in The Bahamas - and don't be surprised by this high total because The Bahamas is one of the most active areas hit by hurricanes and tropical storms in the North Atlantic.

The Bahamas on average gets brushed or hit by a hurricane once every three years, and gets hit by a major hurricane once every 12 years. There are three Bahamian islands ranked in the top 10 effects from tropical systems of all cities, islands and countries in the North Atlantic Basin - Andros, Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Andros is affected once every 2.40 years and since 1871 it was brushed or hit by a tropical storm or hurricane 57 times. The average years between direct hurricane hits are once every 8.06 years. Third is Abaco, which is affected once every 2.45 years and since 1871 was "brushed" or hit by a tropical storm or hurricane 56 times. The average years between direct hurricane hits are once every 8.57 years. Fourth is Grand Bahama, which is affected every 2.49 years and since 1871, it was brushed or hit by a tropical storm or hurricane 55 times. The average years between direct hurricane hits are once every 6.52 years.

The first on the list of the most active area to get hit or brushed by a tropical storm or hurricane is Grand Cayman which is affected once every 2.21 years and since 1871 it was brushed or hit by a hurricane 62 times. The average years between direct hits are once every 6.52 years. Fifth is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, sixth is Delray Beach, Florida, seventh is Cancun, Mexico, eighth is Hollywood, Florida, ninth is Deerfield Beach, Florida and tenth is Bermuda.

Interestingly, New Providence is ranked 39th on the list, affected every 2.98 years. It was brushed or hit by a tropical storm or hurricane 46 times since 1871. The average years between direct hurricane hits are once every 11.42 years.

In the history of hurricane record keeping history, one of the most active hurricane seasons on record in The Bahamas was the 1926 hurricane season which saw three powerful hurricanes and a tropical storm affect The Bahamas.

As The Bahamas gears up for another hurricane season and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted 14 to 23 named storms and eight to 14 hurricanes, of which three to seven could be major hurricanes of category three strength or higher, local forecaster at the department of meteorology Wayne Neely has released his fourth book the storm phenomenon - "The Great Bahamian Hurricanes of 1926" which looks back at one of the greatest hurricane seasons to impact The Bahamas, and in which approximately 500 persons died.

To research information for his latest book, Neely traveled to different islands and interviewed persons like former Governor General Sir Clifford Darling (who was four years old at the time) who experienced the storms and lost four uncles in the 1926 hurricanes, and Rupert Roberts Jr., president of Super Value Food Stores who told him what his father, Rupert Roberts Sr. had experienced and talked about and others.

In his book, Neely says Abaco, Andros, San Salvador, Exuma, Bimini, the Berry Islands, New Providence, Grand Bahama, Long Cay, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Cat Island, Long Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Mayaguana and Eleuthera were all affected. According to Neely's book the government had its work cut out to stabilize the economy.

The topic of hurricanes is one Neely finds fascinating and got an interest to write about after hearing his parents and grandparents speak about the 1926 and 1929 hurricanes that lasted for three days.

Neely says his books are a history lesson of hurricanes and their impact on Bahamian society, because his books focus on how the storms develop, what causes them to be so powerful, the history behind then and how hurricanes affect people.

To pen "The Great Bahamian Hurricanes of 1926" he had to travel to every one of the major inhabited islands to interview elderly persons, which he says makes his latest book his pride and joy.

Tuesday, June 1 officially marked the start of the Atlantic hurricane season that ends on November 30. While the season is underway, Neely says Bahamians should read his book to prepare because in each book he has hurricane preparedness tips and what to do before and after a hurricane.

While the meteorologist prays that The Bahamas is safe from these storms he is also excited for this season, because he has been selected to board a reconnaissance flight at the Keesler Base, in Louisiana, that will fly into the eye of a hurricane during this busy year to collect data.

Neely's only hope is that when he is called up to go on his mission, the storm that's traveling won't be affecting The Bahamas, because he says he know he's needed at home in the forecast office.

Although the season is still young, for those persons that have not prepared as yet, the meteorologist and author says they should make their preparations which they can find in his books like trimming trees, checking their roof and making certain it's up to par, stock up on storm shutters and ensure that their hurricane insurance is up to date and stock up on canned goods.

As far as he's concerned, Bahamians take hurricane season too lightly.

"Most Bahamians have not experienced a major hurricane and until we do we will never take them seriously," says Neely.

Neely's books are available at Logos Bookstore; Cole Thompson Pharmacy (downtown); Bahama Divers, East Bay Street and at Sweet Delights in the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

News date : 06/30/2010    Category : Nassau Guardian Stories

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