Tropical Storm Bret forms over the Central Atlantic
By John McPhaul
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida, announced Monday afternoon the formation of Tropical Storm Bret over the Central Atlantic, urging the Lesser Antilles to monitor its progress.
According to the NHC, Bret was located about 1,295 miles (2,085 kilometer [km]) east of the South Windward Islands, moving west at 21 miles per hour (33 km/h) with sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km/h).
On the forecast track, the system was expected to approach the Lesser Antilles later this week. Tropical storm-force winds were extending up to 45 miles (75 km) from its center.
Bret’s formation at this time of year is not unusual. During hurricane season, systems can form anywhere in the Atlantic and Caribbean, and are often closely monitored for their potential to strengthen.
In its 5 p.m. advisory, the NHC anticipated that Bret could become a hurricane in a couple of days.
“Interests in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of this system,” the NHC warned.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rican Telecommunications Alliance President Wanda Pérez reported Monday that companies in the sector have invested significantly in preparing for an increasingly resilient infrastructure.
“Our goal is always to offer the best service,” Pérez said. “In emergency situations, it is vital that authorities, businesses and citizens can count on telecommunications services to stay informed and access essential services.”
A common challenge during hurricane season is the prolonged outage of electric service. For this reason, Pérez pointed out that many companies have developed energy backup systems, including solar panels, batteries, inverters and gas, diesel and gasoline generators at critical sites.
“Access to diesel to keep generators running has been a big concern in the past,” she said. “We maintain close communication with the government so that telecommunications are considered a priority service in the distribution of diesel,” she said.
In addition to the energy issue, Pérez said other measures have been taken, such as the acquisition of equipment to ensure a healthy inventory, the inspection of antennas and fiber optic routes, and cleaning work to avoid damage.
“It is also important to prepare workers in the industry,” she said. “Many companies have implemented emergency plans and measures so that staff are ready to provide support in the event of a service interruption. Our commitment is to handle any eventuality with the greatest urgency to keep Puerto Rico connected.”
The Puerto Rican Telecommunications Alliance will also disseminate educational messages to promote the safe and appropriate use of telecommunications during the hurricane season.