Extracts from Section 7 - 10 of Appendix "A" of the 2005 Nevis Disaster Plan (draft)
7. ADVISORIES AND WARNINGS
The Meteorological Office at Golden Rock International Airport will issue statements concerning the approach of hurricanes and storms. The statements will contain
the following weather words, as appropriate.
BULLETIN - issued when a significant weather system in detected in the area.
ADVISORY - issued at regular intervals when a tropical storm or hurricane is first detected in the area – keep listening.
WATCH - issued when the hurricane continues its advance and hurricane conditions are a real possibility; it does not mean that they are imminent.
WARNING - issued when once it is established that hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.
TROPICAL DEPRESSION - a Tropical System with a circulation but with winds of less than 39 m.p.h. (34 knots.)
TROPICAL STORM - a Tropical System with a circulation and winds of 39 - 73 m.p.h. (34 36 knots.)
HURRICANE - an Intense Tropical System with maximum sustained winds greater than 74 m.p.h. (64 knots.)
EYE - the relatively calm area near the centre around which the strongest winds blow. As the eye passes light winds rapidly give way to very severe winds from the
STORM SURGE - the rise of water (as high as 10 to 20 feet) above sea level brought on by the strong winds and low pressure in the storm centre.
8. WARNING SYSTEM
1. The Hurricane season usually extends from June to November. During this time it is wise for everyone on the Island to be on the alert that precautionary measures,
previously planned are put into effect as soon as information is received of an approaching storm.
2. When a Hurricane is near, the gusts of wind become stronger and more frequent and they are accompanied by torrential rain. Sooner or later the full destructive
force of the storm strikes the island. If the centre of a hurricane should pass over the island the first blow will be succeeded by calm of half an hour or an hour or
less after which terrific gusts of wind would suddenly blow from the opposite direction. During the calm, opportunity should be taken to carry nut further
precautionary measures possible because it has been established that it is the second blow from the opposite direction which usually causes the greatest damage.
3. The main source for weather reports obtained from St Kitts and Nevis Meteorological Service is the Emergency Operations Centre (Tel: 469-1423) or Charlestown
Police Station Tel (469-5391/2 or 469-5400).
4. When a gale or hurricane is reported, the Emergency Operations Centre will at once inform the general public by bulletin on Radio ZIZ and VON, loudspeaker vans
and over amateur wireless as appropriate. The Meteorological Office will operate a 24 hour service if possible.
9. TYPES OF WARNING
The types of warnings issued are:
(i) Flood, (ii) flash flood, (iii) small craft (advisories and warning), (iv) gale, (v) storm (or whole gale), (vi) hurricane watch, (vii) hurricane warnings, (viii) special
Flood Warning - When flooding is expected in low lying areas and near the river banks due to a continuous downpour of rain (of many hours duration) a flood
warning will be issued. This warning is not necessarily associated with Depressions, Storms or Hurricanes, and strong winds do not always accompany the rain.
Flash Flood Warning - When sudden, very heavy or violent rain¬fall is expected to occur, bringing a sufficiently large amount of water to cause flooding in a short
time, a flash flood warning will be issued. As with the flood warning, this is not necessarily associated with Depressions, Storms, or Hurricanes.
Small Craft Advisory - When above normal winds, sea swells or wind driven waves are affecting St Kitts and Nevis and surround¬ing waters, with conditions just
marginally safe for small craft operations, a small craft advisory will be issued as a caution. These conditions are caused by various meteorological systems including
Depressions, Storms and Hurricanes.
Small Craft Warning - When a Hurricane, Storm or Depression moves within a few hundred miles of the coast or when condition caused by other systems are
considered unsafe, with winds up to 38 miles per hour (33 knots), warning will be issued for small craft operators to take precautions and not to venture into the
Gale Warning - When winds of 39 to 54 miles per hour (34 - 47 knots) are expected to affect the island within 24 hours, a gale warning is added to the advisory
message. A gale warning may be issued when only the fringe effects of the Hurricane are expected to be felt.
Storm Warning - When winds of 55 to 73 miles per hour (48 - 63 knots) are expected to affect the island within 24 hours, a storm warning is added to the advisory
Hurricane Watch - A hurricane watch will be added to the advisory message when there is a threat of hurricane conditions affecting the island within 24 - 36 hours.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are a real possibility; it does not mean they are imminent. When a watch is issued, everyone in the island should be
prepared to act quickly if a hurricane warning is later issued.
Hurricane Warning - When hurricane conditions are expected to affect the island within 24 hour, a hurricane warning will be added to the advisory message.
Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) or more, and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Hurricane Warnings are seldom issued more
than 24 hours in advance. If the hurricane's path is unusual or erratic, the warning may be issued only a few hours before the beginning of hurricane conditions.
Local precautionary actions should begin as soon as hurricane warnings are issued.
Special Coastal Warnings:
Hurricane tides and surge - Major hurricane swells travel great distances ahead of the centre and may cause a rise in the level of the sea along the shore called the
hurricane tide. While the hurricane is still some distance away, warnings would be issued to beach goers (along with those for small craft). A wave front produced
by the hurricane will bring a considerable mass transport of water towards the shore. The rise in the water level in this case is a rapid phenomenon, occurring near
the area where the eye makes landfall, and about the same time. This is called the hurricane surge (or storm surge in the case of that system) and can bring tidal
waves 15 to 20 ft (sometimes higher). The surge can enter the mouths of rivers and move a considerable distance and loss of life is usually caused by surge, which
is the primary reason for recommending the evacuation of low-lying areas. Warning against the hurricane surge is not likely to be given a long time in advance.
10. WARNINGS TO THE PUBLIC
1. Radio Announcements
Announcements will be made over Radio ZIZ and VON Radio.
2. Other signals of two types:
By day - two flags showing a black square an a red ground, flown one above the other at mast heads
By night - two red lights, one above the other, hoisted at mast heads
3. The Superintendent of Police is responsible for the following Visual Warning Stations:
Flags will be hoisted at the following Police Stations:
Charlestown Police Station
Cotton Ground Police Station
Newcastle Police Station
Gingerland Police Station
4. Audible Warnings
(a) Bells - Church Bells will be rung rapidly at intervals for a period of fifteen minutes.
(b) Sirens - Sirens controlled by the Superintendent of Police will be sounded every quarter hour for an hour in blasts of one minute, three times with an interval of
half a minute, between blasts at all following Police Stations:
Charlestown Police Station
Newcastle Police Station
All Clear Signals
5. When it is certain that the island is out of danger from the hurricane "All Clear" signals will be given. These signals will be given as follows:
(a) Visual - By day - A green flag with a white diagonal stripe flown at mast heads
By night - A green light at mast heads
(b) Audible Sirens will be sounded continuously for three minutes
Police will advise District Emergency Organisations, Rectors and Vicars, and will notify residents of isolated districts . Reports will be made over Radio ZIZ and VON