Tropical Depression

An organised system of clouds and thunderstorms, with a defined circulation, and maximum sustained speeds of up to 38 miles per hour.

Tropical Storm

An organised system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation, and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 miles per hour.


An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of over 74 miles per hour.

Storm Surge

An abnormal rise in sea level, accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm, and whose height is the difference between the observed level of the sea surface, and the level that would have occurred in the absence of the hurricane. The battering waves, coupled with the elevated water level is the reason why people are asked to evacuate homes near the coast.


Weather advisory messages are issued for tropical storms and hurricanes, which states the location, intensity, direction of travel and the speed of the storm or hurricane.


Weather bulletin is a public release made during periods between advisories announcing the latest details on the storm or hurricane.

Tropical Storm Watch

Given when tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified are of the warning within 36 hours.

Tropical Storm Warning

Given when tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning with 24 hours.

Hurricane Watch

Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area within 36 hours.

Hurricane Warning

Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified are within 24 hours.

Small craft advisory

Given to alert mariners and fisherfolk that sea conditions might be hazardous to small boats-looking at wind speeds around 18 knots, or hazardous wave conditions.

Gale warnings

Given when there is a need to give warning that winds have exceeded 38 miles an hour and are around 60 miles per hour maximum.  These may precede or accompany a hurricane watch.

You will therefore realise that a full understanding of the aforementioned definitions are of great importance, as each definition caters to a specific activity or strength of the activity.

Let us now move on to things that the individual can do

  • Residents should take adequate examination of their properties, buildings and surroundings and take effective preventative measures against some of the things that may be likely to happen as a result of a hurricane or storm.
  • If there is a need to trim branches, do so. Should these branches be close to electrical wires, you should contact the Barbados Light & Power.
  • Ensure that roofing material is properly fixed to the building, and have suitable shutters to cover large glass doors and windows.
  • Know where the nearest shelter is located, in the event that you may need to go there.
  • You should have knowledge of your utilities, stop cocks, electrical breakers etc., should you need to turn them off.
  • Have a supply of non-perishable foodstuff that can meet your family needs for at least 3 days.
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day, as well as water for domestic use in clean plastic containers, do not use glass containers.
  • First aid kits are essential. Should there be family members who need prescribed medication, ensure that you have at least one week’s supply.
  • Have some basic tools should there be need for minor repairs. Have a supply of torch lights and batteries. A battery operated radio is essential, and other personal hygiene items.
  • Members of the family with special needs should have a special plan prepared in the event of evacuation.
  • Keep important documents safe in waterproof devices or containers. Such items include insurance policies, credit cards and bank documents, identification and passport documents.
  • An inventory of household items complete with identification numbers or devices should be made. This is very vital should you need to make an insurance claim after the hurricane. It is therefore very important that your house and contents are adequately insured, as well as vehicles and marine items. And what about that satellite dish?
  • Since you have decided to stay at home during the hurricane, disconnect all electrical equipment, your gas supply and water supply.
  • Stay away from windows. Ensure all exterior doors are closed and braced.  Stay indoors until the all clear is given.
  • Use flash lights and only use open flame if you have ensured that there is no damage to your gas supply.

Identify a safe room, closet or hallway, you should only use your basement if you live in an area that is not prone to flooding. If you have lost your roof, seek refuge under a large table or sturdy object.  You may also want to cover yourself with a mattress for added safety if possible.

DEO Disaster Kit Checklist download

DEO Family Plan Checklist download