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House  on lower Morne Bruce damaged by Hurricane Maria
House on lower Morne Bruce damaged by Hurricane Maria

Hearing the prediction from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that this year's hurricanes may be stronger and more frequent, 74-year-old Ines Seraphine clutched onto her rosary.

Still repairing her more than a 100-year-old family home, which Hurricane Maria badly damaged in 2017, the senior can't fathom the idea of facing another rainy season.

"It [the rain] scares me," she told the Sun. "When it rains at night I am unable to sleep at all because all that's on my mind is what I hear during Maria."

Like Seraphine, remnants of the damage caused by Maria remain fresh on the mind of Osborne Xavier, whose country home was completely damaged.

"We made some amendments to the house, but it still isn't what it used to be, so I'm just praying we don't get nothing too tough this year," he said.

Five years on Hurthbert Riviere tells the Sun that he's made a makeshift temporary home in the backyard of what used to be his two-story home. Like many other Dominicans, he is still waiting on an insurance cheque to rebuild his home.

"I hate the months from June to November, because I know between that period, anything is possible," Riviere said.

News of yet another above-average hurricane season this year is alarming to them and the many other citizens, who saw small streams become raging rivers, roofs blown away like flimsy paper, and homes, businesses, vehicles, and infrastructure damaged at the hand of one storm.

"It only takes one," Kathy Pierre painfully reminded. "It only takes that one hurricane, the one raging wind, the one dark cloud to set us back another 20 years."

Hurricane season began 1 June

The season — which officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, though storms can develop outside that period — is likely to include 14 to 21 named storms, a category that includes all tropical cyclones with top winds of at least 39 miles per hour. Of those, six to 10 are expected to reach hurricane strength, meaning sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour. And of that subset, three to six are expected to reach Category 3 or higher, meaning sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

According to NOAA if the "above normal" Atlantic hurricane plays out, it would make 2022 the seventh consecutive year with an above-normal season.

In the wake of the category five Hurricane Maria, more than 85% of Dominica's houses were damaged, of which more than 25% were completely destroyed, leaving more than 50,000 of the island's 73,000 residents displaced.

To combat this, just last week, the government of Dominica commissioned two regional emergency shelters in Jimmit and Castle Bruce.

The facilities were built at a cost of EC$33 million with funding from the European Union, under the '11th EDF Envelope State and Resilience Building Contract post-Hurricane Maria.'

The shelters feature wide spaces to serve as dormitories, storage rooms, kitchens, washrooms, medical centres, laundry facilities, administrative offices, and alternate water and power supplies.

When the Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, the sequence of names for 2022 will be Alex, Colin, Bonnie, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.


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