Right Steps & Poui Trees

350 Words or Less: June Too Soon – Hurricane Season 2016

So the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins today, and the traditional rhyme comes to mind:

June, too soon

July, stand by

August, come it must

September, remember

October, all over.

However, the season is off to an unusual start. The first named storm – Hurricane Alex – actually developed in January, a very unusual occurrence. Alex developed maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and went on to affect the Azores.

Hurricane Alex Wikipedia graphic

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And then last week, Tropical Storm Bonnie formed and made landfall as a tropical depression on the South Carolina coast. Bonnie wasn’t a strong storm, but brought a lot of rain.

tweet bonnie flooding

So the traditional season starts with two of the twenty-one assigned names already used.

Alex   Bonnie   Colin   Danielle   Earl   Fiona   Gaston   Hermine   

Ian   Julia   Karl   Lisa   Matthew   Nicole   Otto   Paula   Richard   

Shary   Tobias   Virginie   Walter

The predictions are generally for a near average hurricane season with NOAA giving the following prediction:

The outlook calls for a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity during the 2016 hurricane season:

  • 10-16 Named Storms, which includes Alex in January
  • 4-8 Hurricanes, which includes Alex in January
  • 1-4 Major Hurricanes
  • Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 65%-140% of the median, which includes Alex in January

And out of the 2016 Wet/Hurricane Season Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum in Dominica, there is this prediction:

“We expect that there will be more extreme wet spells. That means a couple of days in which there will be enormous amounts of rainfall that can come. Because that chance is getting higher and higher as we go on into our wet season, the risk of flash floods that lead on from such wet spells becomes much greater,” Cedric Van Meerbeeck, climatologist at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), based in Barbados, told The Gleaner.


ODPEM Recommendations

The Office of Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management (ODPEM) has a list of recommendations for hurricane preparedness. How many of these have you done yet?

ODPEM hurricane prep 1


And if you’re interested in the history of hurricanes in Jamaica, take a look at Dr Joy Lumsden’s site: 18th century hurricane accounts & 19th century hurricane accounts

Lumsden website - hurricanes 1

Best to be  prepared!


From Long Ago: “‘Dandy’, dengne, dengue – or was it really chikungunya?”

My mother is a historian, Dr Joy Lumsden, and she has always shared that passion and perspective with her family throughout her life. Her interest is wide-ranging, though she has a focus on a particular period of Jamaican history. Joy Lumsden from websiteAs she said in her profile on one of her websites:

I finally retired in 2004 after nearly 50 years of teaching, 1956-91 at high school, and 1980-2004 at university level. During all that time, and still today, I have been researching Jamaican history, especially in the period between the Morant Bay ‘Rebellion’ and the 1938 riots. My doctoral thesis, which I worked on from 1975 to 1988, was on the life and political career of Dr J Robert Love, the Black Bahamian who played a significant role in politics and journalism in Jamaica between 1890 and 1914. My work on Robert Love introduced me to a highly significant but little researched period of Jamaican history, when 2-3 generations of tough, courageous and self-confident Jamaicans laid the foundations of the modern nation.

Last week I mentioned to her an article I had seen on a CDC webpage, in which the writer posited that chikungunya (ChikV) had been present in the Americas 200 years ago. Scott B Halstead: Reappearance of Chikungunya, Formerly Called Dengue, in the Americas Soon after, she posted on her Jamaica History website some information she had found about dengue and/or ChikV in the region during that time. I found it fascinating to read, given the heightened focus at the moment on the zika virus. And it was particularly interesting to read these excerpts, remembering that at the time it was still not known that these diseases were vector borne viral diseases, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The full post can be read on the website at:

‘Dandy’, dengne, dengue – or was it really chikungunya?

Below I have copied one excerpt from a 1828 document:

Jamaican History website 2

Jamaican History website 3