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Hurricane Measurement Scale, Are we getting it right?



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



May 5, 2023 – ‘A Category 5 is on the way.’ It’s a statement that would cause immediate concern in even the youngest of residents in the Atlantic Basin; so ingrained is the Saffir-Simpson scale in our understanding of hurricanes, but some say with the effects of climate change at our door it’s time for a change.

The Saffir-Simpson scale is the internationally accepted method of grading the intensity/strength of hurricanes created in 1973. The scale uses wind speed to grade the strength of hurricanes, a classification some say is outdated because it excludes other deadly factors and characteristics of horrible storms.

The only change that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has made in over a decade is a slight change in the wind speed of categories three, four, and five to remedy mix-ups when converting the wind speeds to miles or kilometres per hour.

Citing storm surges (which cause flooding and drowning deaths), rain, the discrepancy between hurricane wind speed at sea and on land, the sea level pressure of storms and other factors, scientists say it’s time to upgrade the way we think about the storms and their intensity.

Phil Klotzbach, Meteorologist at Colorado State University in his research on storms in the US says, pressure is more skillful than wind at predicting normalised hurricane damage and intensity while simultaneously being easier to measure.

Pressure is partially responsible for storm surge.

Rain and Storm surge are important factors for low lying island nations, especially those bisected by water like the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas.  A high enough storm surge or enough flooding can be deadly, cutting off evacuation routes before storms and emergency personnel after; trapping people in their homes or pulling them out to sea.

NOAA lists storm surge as the factor that causes the most deaths in hurricanes, but the Saffir-Simpson Scale does not currently measure this.

In 2018, two writers for Yale School of the Environment Rob Young and Katie Mcdowell Peek agreed that wind alone was not enough to focus on as a predictor of hurricane strength. They cite hurricanes Florence (cat 1), Katrina (cat 3), and Harvey (cat 4), and Tropical Storm Sandy, devastating storms in the US with high death tolls driven not by wind but by the dozens of inches of rainfall and massive storm surges they brought.

“All of these storms have one thing in common: The hazards they unleashed were not adequately described by the traditional hurricane classification system,” they argue.

These researchers outright call for the Saffir-Simpson Scale to be done away with and a new system created.

This is not to say that wind has no bearing on a hurricane’s ferocity or that it is to be overlooked; rather the researchers say it should take a backseat to other risk factors. Under Klotzbach’s system pressure would be the defining factor for categorising hurricanes rather than wind speed.

“The real danger from all of these systems is water, not wind— water can completely reconfigure a barrier island shoreline by opening new inlets, knocking down dunes, and pushing entire islands landward. The impact of wind can’t compare,” Young and Peak argue.

It is especially important to consider and broadcast this information when talking about hurricanes, they say, as ocean temperatures rise, ice caps melt and sea levels get higher.

Bahamas News

Potter’s Cay vendors to get help from Bahamas Gov’t after November fire



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, December 10, 2023 – Victims of the Potter’s Cay fire in November, will soon be assisted by the government of The Bahamas through a credit line organized with a reputable  Bahamian company.

This is being done through the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources on a mission to rebuild the stalls lost in the fire on November 19th, 2023.

According to the ministry, they will assist with a sum of $64,823.62 which is $16,205.88 per stall, to aid business with quickly bounding back, especially given that the holiday season is near, expressed Jomo Campbell, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources.

Campbell spoke to the unfortunate incident saying,

“It was reported that a boat caught fire and drifted to the western side of the dock. As such, four stalls were completely destroyed. We thank God that there wasn’t any injury or loss of life. However, we know that the fire caused damage to the livelihoods of Bahamians and even our fishing industry, which plays a vital role to our food supply.”

Considering this and the ministry’s mission, the credit will be established with [Premiere Importers] Campbell said.

This investment also comes as Potter’s Cay dock, as Campbell pointed put, is a crucial aspect of Bahamian culture.

“It has a vital role to play in our economy,” he said.

For disasters such as this, the minister continues to highlight that the ministry is doing the work to implement preventative measures by fortifying safety protocols, carrying out regular inspections and providing training and resources to businesses in the fishing industry to better equip them to handle emergency situations.

Campbell, in responding to questions as he made the announcement in a video on the ministry’s Facebook, said that insurance for the stalls is an issue that will also be addressed going forward in the new year.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas First Lady speaks up for Women and the Family at COP28



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#TheBahamas, December 10, 2023 – Women face unique challenges regarding climate change impacts and The Bahamas Prime Minister’s wife highlighted this at Cop 28.  Joining her husband, Philip Davis who is widely communicating the dire need for climate action, Ann-Marie Davis, First Lady of the archipelago underlined why it’s important to also protect women against climate change effects.

In an interview with media, she spoke to how the climate crisis threatens the health of women globally, highlighting those carrying children.

First Lady Davis points out that it affects the unborn child through harmful gasses the pregnant women can breathe in, the water they drink, and their physical surroundings which may not be conducive to healthy pregnancies and births.

Davis also made sure to highlight that while women are affected differently, especially pregnant women, it’s important to protect everyone, such as men, boys, girls and children overall.

Children can be affected by disabilities and lack of proper development due to climate change impacts, she mentions.

In continuation, the first lady’s remarks compliment the fact that women are considered to be more vulnerable than men to climate change effects according to the United Nations, which says this is mainly due to them representing the majority of the world’s poor and are proportionally more reliant on threatened natural resources.

Regarding the even more vulnerable pregnant women, evidence shows that rising temperatures threaten successful reproduction. In fact, heat stress can cause stillbirths, preterm births and low fetal weight, according to Frontiers in Endocrinology, the third most cited and sixith largest research publisher and open science platform.

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Bahamas News

Energy & Transport Minister Breaks Down the Technical Aspects of the Solar Micro Grids RFP Proposal



NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Minister of Energy & Transport the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis said each Family Island has unique power requirements, loads, and generation levels.

“Therefore, the specification for the solar array (a collection of solar panels wired together to capture sunlight and produce electricity) will be at least 30 per cent of the energy demand,” the Minister of Energy & Transport said at a press conference to launch the Request for Proposal (RFP) for Family Islands New Energy Generation by Microgrids, Cleaner Fuels and Renewables at Margaritaville Beach Resort on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

This initiative involves developing solar energy microgrids across the Family Islands.  This also encompasses the Government’s goal of The Bahamas having a 30 per cent renewable power generation by the year 2030.

The Minister explained that microgrids will ensure consistent and reliable power output for island inhabitants, addressing unique island requirements.

She also noted that Battery Energy Storage Systems will be incorporated to ensure a seamless backup power supply during outages, and support both the solar and prime power generation.

“Projects will be managed locally to minimize wastage, reduce generation costs, and drive self- sustainability on the islands.”

The Minister said a central Microgrid Controller will be employed to enhance efficiency and reliability across all microgrids and will allow the Bahamas Power and Light Company Ltd. (BPL) to monitor all systems from a centralized location.

She said the deadline for proposal submissions is January 26, 2024, with opportunities for clarification questions through the public procurement portal.

Family Island site visits will commence on December 11, 2023, starting with Eleuthera. The full schedule is outlined in the RFP.

The Minister explained that to be eligible for evaluation, all firms must meet specific experience and qualification standards, including microgrids and renewable energy facility construction capability, and a clear warranty policy is essential for ensuring the performance of proposed equipment.

She said, “We urge all interested firms to submit clarification questions or obtain further information through the public procurement portal, where responses to all questions will be made available.”

The Energy & Transport Minister said new vendors to the portal will be required to self-register by clicking the link “New Vendor Registration”.

If assistance is required, please call: Christopher Minnis at 702 1555 or Cornell Rahaming at 702 1533.

Only registered vendors can access opportunities posted in the portal. Those who are not yet registered, will be limited to observing the opportunities.  The website address is:

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