Although a paradise, Saint-Martin is regularly threatened by cyclones. Here are a few practical tips to help you prepare and ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

Forecasts and vigilance

Recent years have seen an increase in the frequency and intensity of cyclones. For 2024, forecasts indicate a significant number of tropical storms and major cyclones. It’s crucial to keep abreast of weather forecasts and official alerts. Check the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Météo France websites regularly for reliable updates.

Keeping an eye on trajectories

Tracking the trajectories of cyclonic systems is essential. A cyclone only becomes a disaster when it makes landfall. Use the online resources of official organizations to track storms.

Warning and information systems

Saint-Martin has warning sirens at Marigot, Quartier d’Orléans and Grand Case. These sirens, along with the FR-Alert warning system, will alert you to any imminent danger. Make sure your cell phone is configured to receive these alerts.

Preparing for the hurricane season

  1. Identify a “safe room “: Choose the most secure room in your home, usually without windows or with minimal openings.
  2. Check your roof and gutters: Repair roofs and clean gutters to prevent water infiltration.
  3. Elevate furniture: Use cinder blocks or other objects to elevate furniture in flood-prone areas.
  4. Freezing and eating: Freeze bottles of water to keep the fridge cold in the event of a power cut, and prepare meals in advance.
  5. Water storage: Store water in clean containers and treat with bleach tablets for sanitary use.

During the cyclone

  • Consolidate openings: Use plywood boards to protect windows and doors.
  • Avoid travelling: Once the red alert has been triggered, stay at home and avoid all travel.
  • Prepare an emergency kit: Make sure you have a battery-powered radio, flashlights, spare batteries, medication, drinking water and non-perishable food.

After the cyclone

  1. Stay informed: Continue to follow the instructions of your local authorities and take care when leaving your home.
  2. Assess the damage: Inspect your home and surroundings for damage and make sure it’s safe before starting repairs.
  3. Help and mutual aid: Help your neighbors and cooperate with rescue teams by not blocking roads or overloading telephone lines.

Preparation and vigilance are the keys to surviving the hurricane season on Saint-Martin. By following these tips and staying informed, you can minimize the risks and protect your family and property.

For further details and to download preparation guides, visit the official websites of the Prefecture and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin. Stay safe and ready for the hurricane season.