ODPEM Government of Jamaica
Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
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Disasters Do Happen
 
Words of Warning

Flash Flood: This is a flood event that occurs with little or no warning where water levels rise very quickly.

Flash Flood Watch: This means that a flash flood is possible in the area and citizens should be on the alert and be ready to take action if flooding is observed or a warning is given.

Flash Flood Warning: This means that flash flooding is imminent or has been reported. Residents in low-lying areas should be on the alert for fast-rising waters and get ready for immediate action. Motorists and pedestrians are advised not to attempt to cross flooded streets, roads, low bridges or fordings.

Gale Warning: This is a warning of sustained winds within the range of 63 km/hr – 87 km/hr.

Hurricane Season: This is the portion of the year from June 1 to November 30 having high incidence of hurricane activity.

Hurricane: This is a warm core tropical cyclone in which maximum sustained surface winds are 119 km/hr or greater.

Hurricane Watch: The first alert when a hurricane poses a possible, but yet uncertain threat to a coastal area. It means, therefore, that you must start preparing by purchasing necessary supplies and securing your home.

Hurricane Advisory: Messages issued by the National Meteorological Service giving a description of the storm, its possible anticipated movement and prospective threat.

Hurricane Centre or “Eye”: The relatively calm area in the centre of a hurricane with light winds and clouds and warm temperatures. The eye is bordered by the maximum winds of the hurricane and torrential rains.

Hurricane Warning: This means that hurricane conditions will affect the island within 24 hours. These conditions include sustained winds of 119 km/hr or higher and/or dangerously high water.

Small Craft Warning: When a hurricane, tropical storm or tropical depression threatens an area, small crafts are advised to remain in port or not to venture into open sea. Sometimes the hurricane may be a few hundred kilometers from the coast.

Storm Surge: A great dome of water often as much as 80 km wide that sweeps across the coastline near the sea. The surge is the most dangerous past of the hurricane.

Tropical Depression: A system in which the maximum sustained surface wind is 63 km/hr.

Tropical Disturbance: A moving area of thunderstorms of tropical origin that maintains its identify for 24 hours or more.

Tropical Storm: A storm in which the maximum sustained surface winds is 63-117 km/hr.

Tsunami: Tsunamis are ocean waves produced by earthquakes or underwater landslides.   The word is Japanese and means “harbour waves”, because of the devastating effects these waves have had on low-lying Japanese coastal communities. Tsunamis are often incorrectly referred to as tidal waves, but a tsunami is actually a series of waves that can travel at speeds averaging 450 (and up to 600) miles per hour in the open ocean.

 

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