Hurricane Measurement Scale, Are we getting it right?
By Dana Malcolm
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 The scale uses wind speed to grade the strength of hurricanes, a classification some say is outdated because it excludes other deadly factors and characteristics of horrible storms.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 Government Solidifying relations with Saudi Arabia in High Level Meeting
#TheBahamas, May 30, 2023 – On May 22, 2023 members of The Bahamas cabinet, led by Philip Davis, Bahamas Prime Minister reported that “Yesterday’s fruitful bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Davis and His Excellence Ahmed bin Aqil al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, showcased growing ties and collaboration between both nations.
Prime Minister Davis expressed support for Saudi Arabia hosting World Expo 2030 and discussed a potential diplomatic visa waiver agreement.”
Together, we aim for improved diplomatic relations and exciting opportunities ahead!
Minister Moxey congratulates Defence Force Ranger graduating class, Grand Bahama
#TheBahamas, May 30, 2023 – It was a proud moment for parents of more than fifty boys and girls, who had gathered, along with the Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey for their graduation from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers program, to officially become Defence Force Cadets.
“On behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and on behalf of the Minister of National Security, Minister Wayne Munroe and all of the members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, we salute you, we are proud of you, we encourage you and we want you to continue this journey,” Minister Moxey told the new recruits during the ceremony on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at Workers House in Freeport.
“You offer so much to this country, and you are the future of this country. We are cheering for you.”
The event culminated weeks and months of training for the new recruits, encompassing leadership skills, character building exercises, physical training, drills and discipline.
The Grand Bahama Minister said that she was excited, happy an proud to be filling in for National Security Minister, Wayne Munroe, to witness the advancement to a new level of training for the young recruits.
Sharing a brief history of the program, which has existed for almost three decades, Minister Moxey noted that since 1995, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Ranger Program has had a rich legacy of transforming the lives of Ranger cadets, by empowering them through leadership training, military discipline and civic, community, cultural, spiritual and sporting activities.
The program was first introduced at D.W. Davis Secondary school in Nassau, with the initial goal of redirecting the path of challenged male students at the junior high level towards the path of becoming more productive members within their schools and communities.
“Since that time,” Minister Moxey pointed out, “the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Ranger Program has evolved into a vibrant youth organization, with students participating from 40 schools in New Providence and 24 schools in some of the Family Islands, namely Abaco, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera and Andros.”
She said that in addition to leadership training and the development of core values, the program aims to prepare young Rangers for employment in the wider community, with particular attention to deployment to the Defence Force, and the commercial maritime sector.
During the brief graduation ceremony, the new recruits displayed for the Minister, Commanding Officers and their parents their newly acquired skills in parade drills, physical fitness, discipline, and musical talents. As this year’s Rangers graduate to full Defence Force Cadets, a new corp of recruits will be enrolled for next year’s training program.
Consumer Protection Bill 2023
Addresses rapidly evolving consumer needs in the digital era providing better protection for Bahamian consumers, said Prime Minister Davis
NASSAU, The Bahamas – During his Communication on the Consumer Protection Bill of 2023, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis termed it a “significant piece of legislation” designed to enhance the rights of consumers across The Bahamas.
“This Bill is for all Bahamians, from the young mother budgeting for her family’s groceries, to the retiree investing his hard-earned money in a new home appliance,” he said, in the House of Assembly.
“Our individual households, our communities, and our economy depend on the integrity and fairness of trade,” he added. “Over the years, the Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 337C, has served as a firm foundation in ensuring fairness in our markets. However, in an era of digital transactions, global markets, and rapidly evolving consumer needs and products, it’s time for us to strengthen our laws, to adapt and to better protect the interests of Bahamian consumers.”
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that the proposed amendments directly correspond with his Government’s “Blueprint for Change” and “Economic Plan”, and reflected its belief that consumer protections were critical to economic development, poverty reduction, and social well-being.
“Our economic growth depends upon a market which encourages healthy competition, drives innovation, and ensures customer satisfaction,” Prime Minister Davis stated. “At the heart of this new Consumer Protection Bill is a commitment to restructuring and reorganizing the existing provisions for better clarity and comprehension.”
“The Bill aims to expand definitions, refine the functions of the Consumer Commission, and modernize the ways in which the Commission operates,” he added. “These changes are driven by a commitment to transparency and by aligning our policies with best international practices.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that his Government’s focus on transparency supported a market environment in which all players, big and small, could operate, grow and prosper in a manner that was regulated and fair.
He added that his Government was also enhancing the ways consumers can lodge complaints.
“Under the new Bill, consumers can make complaints even while outside The Bahamas, and we are expanding the list of who can make a complaint on behalf of the complainant,” Prime Minister Davis said. “These changes reflect our commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, ensuring that all Bahamians have a voice and can seek redress when necessary.”
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, in a world that was increasingly digital, his Government recognized the need to streamline processes and make it easier for consumers to give evidence. To that end, he said, the Bill included provisions to allow for virtual testimony, which will expedite investigations and support convenience for consumers.
“The proposed legislation also empowers the Consumer Commission to issue Advisory Notices in situations where harmful practices to consumers are identified,” he added. “We believe these notices will serve as a valuable tool in preventing harmful business practices and educating consumers about potential risks.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that a significant change under the new Bill was the mandatory licensing and registration of providers. Failure to comply will result in penalties, encouraging businesses to operate within the boundaries of law and promoting a culture of accountability, he added.
“The Bill includes stringent provisions against misleading and deceptive conduct, harassment, and coercion,” he said. “We want to create a marketplace where consumers can engage with confidence and without fear.”
“A critical aspect of the Bill is the restriction of pyramid selling and the obligation for businesses to state the full costs of goods or services,” he added. “These measures will help ensure that consumers are not exploited or deceived.”
Prime Minister Davis stated that the Bill seek to repeal sections that no longer serve their purpose, including those on approved and non-approved services and businesses offering repair services. Updating the laws to respond to changed conditions, he added, allowed his Government to ensure the people were served effectively.
“As we continue to usher The Bahamas into the digital age, this Bill also enhances our ability to oversee distance selling and payment arrangements,” Prime Minister Davis said. “With the growth of online commerce, it’s vital that we maintain robust checks and balances, ensuring that every transaction is fair and transparent.”
“Additionally, the Bill expands on the powers of the Minister to make necessary regulations to protect consumers effectively,” he added. “This is crucial as it provides us with the flexibility to adapt and respond swiftly to emerging challenges and opportunities in the marketplace.”
The enactment of the Bill signaled a “significant shift” in his Government’s approach to consumer protection, Prime Minister Davis said. He added that they were aiming for an inclusive economy where everyone had access to safe, quality goods and services at a fair price.
“The Bill goes beyond enhancing the rights of consumers; it is about improving the lives of Bahamians,” Prime Minister Davis said. “It’s about ensuring that when a young Bahamian entrepreneur sets up his first business, he does so in a marketplace that values fairness and transparency.”
“It is about ensuring that when a Bahamian family invests in a new home, they do so with the confidence that their rights as consumers will be respected and protected,” he added. “It’s about creating an environment where businesses thrive on the principles of fair competition and customer satisfaction.
Prime Minister Davis noted that consumer protection was not just about trade, it was about people.
“It is about building a nation where everyone, regardless of their social or economic standing, can confidently participate in the marketplace,” he said.
“In a broader sense, it’s about the kind of country we want to be,” he added. “A country where trust is the cornerstone of our marketplace, where businesses and consumers interact with mutual respect and understanding. A country that values and upholds the rights and dignity of every individual.”
Prime Minister Davis said that, through that Bill, his Government aimed to empower consumers to make informed decisions, to assert their rights, and to seek redress when those rights are violated. That, in turn, will encourage businesses to uphold the highest standards of integrity, fostering a vibrant and fair economy, he added.
“The Consumer Protection Bill is about building a Bahamas where consumers are informed, businesses are accountable, and the marketplace is a space of fairness and trust,” Prime Minister Davis said. “It’s about creating a culture of consumer rights and responsibilities, where every transaction is an opportunity to demonstrate respect and fairness.”
“This bill is more than just legislation — it is a testament to our commitment to the Bahamian people,” he added. “It is about ensuring our nation’s prosperity and our people’s well-being.”
“It is about creating an economy that values and protects its consumers, a resilient, inclusive, and fair economy.”
Prime Minister Davis said that, in tabling the Consumer Protection Bill 2023, his Government were making a strong statement about the future it envisioned for The Bahamas.
“As we discuss and debate this bill, let us keep at the forefront of our minds the people we serve – the Bahamian people,” he said. “Let us remember that this Bill is not just about rules and regulations, it is about their lives, their rights, and their future.”
“I am proud to present this Bill, confident that it will set the stage for a more secure, equitable, and prosperous Bahamas.” (BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)
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