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VITEMA: WE'RE PREPARED FOR HURRICANE SEASON

June 6, 2001 — If it is June in the Caribbean, that means it is hurricane season. With that in mind, 65 people from various government agencies and public utilities met Tuesday on St. Thomas to assess the territory’s preparedness for the six-month season.
"We are about 98 percent ready at this point," said Harold Baker, the new director of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency.
Baker said the unfinished business includes coordination among agencies, such as finalizing memorandums of understanding. These agreements will be completed in several upcoming meetings. In the meantime, Baker said he feels comfortable with VITEMA’s position six days into the 2001 hurricane season, which runs from June to November.
"We want to maintain that state of readiness as we move to 100 percent," he said. "It’s moving in that direction compared to where we were a month ago."
As many as 11 tropical storms — including five to seven hurricanes — could threaten hurricane-prone areas this year, according to experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Weather experts are calling that a "normal" season. The year 2000 saw 14 named storms, eight of which became hurricanes.
A normal Atlantic hurricane season typically brings eight to 11 tropical storms; five to seven reach hurricane strength, with two to three classified as major. A major hurricane packs sustained winds greater than 110 mph and is classified at Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Seasons with normal hurricane activity average one to two land-falling hurricanes in the United States and one in the Caribbean.

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