The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is just over a month away, but the past six seasons have each gotten off to an early start, as we've seen. Officially, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 - a time frame that was selected to encompass 97% of all Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes, according to NOAA's Hurricane Research Division. The other 3%? Well, they cover the months of May and December, when we've seen tropical storms and even a few hurricanes (unfortunately).
Since 2015, at least one named storm has developed before June 1 each hurricane season, some of which have had impacts with countries in the Atlantic basin, including The Bahamas. While the National Hurricane Center has not yet officially adjusted the start of hurricane season earlier to account for these pre-season storms, beginning this year, they will begin issuing routine Atlantic tropical weather outlooks on May 15.
As with years prior, 2021 is expected to be an above-average year with regards to activity. The Weather Channel announced their predictions, which forecast 18 named storms, 8 of which will become hurricanes, and 3 of which will likely be major hurricanes (category 3 or higher).
By now, we know the drill, but it's always good to have a reminder. As history has proven, preparation is key. If you haven't already run an assessment on your home's status, and attended to any issues in need of your attention, this would be the time to do so.
Here are a few items to cross off your list:
Check your roof
Just as we monitor our health, it's essential to monitor the health of your roof. We've already had significant rainfall over the last few weeks, so if you've noticed any leaks, this would be the time to attend to them. If you haven't seen any problems, it's still a good idea to check for potential problems. Take a look at your roof from the top. Are there any cracks in the sealant or loose shingles? Although asphalt shingles can last for up to 30 years or more, high winds, excessive rain, and tree branches can be a problem for older roofs. If you have any questions or feel there may be a problem, have your roof checked by a qualified specialist who can confirm any suspicions and address any issues before things start to heat up.
Clean your gutters
Our homes' gutters collect debris – leaves, branches, and other materials. If you haven't had a chance to give them a good cleaning, now would be the time to make sure your downspouts are clear. Build-up can cause water to eventually flow over the edges and collect in near to foundations. Leaking under the roof will cause water damage.
Trim your trees
Landscaping isn't just to make your yard look pretty. Yard maintenance is an essential part of home upkeep – especially when it comes to hurricane season. Coconuts, over-extended branches, palm fronds can all become missiles when the winds pick up. Don't leave yourself exposed to potential damage. If you notice that a tree in your yard isn't flowering or looking healthy, have it checked out. A weakened tree can break or snap in high winds and damage cars, roofs, and other plants.
Check your drains
Another problem area when it comes to extensive rains is your drainage system. Make sure your drains are clear and free to allow for flowing water. Doing this can save your home from possible flooding, especially if you are in a low lying area. Stock up sandbags and keep a sump-pump on hand. Seal any foundation or wall cracks with a water-proof sealant, well in advance of storms. These are all ways in which you can help protect your home against potential flooding damage.
Service your generator
Regardless of the time of year, it's always good to get a health-check on your generator. You should schedule a maintenance service on an annual basis. Doing this will maximize the efficiency of your generator. Here are some other helpful guidelines when it comes to maintenance:
– Change your oil and oil filters every 50-60 hours of use.
– Change your air filters annually.
– Change your spark plugs every 100 hours.
– Check your generator battery regularly to ensure there's no corrosion, decay, or damage.
Check your shutters
From roll-downs to metal or wooden, it's vital to ensure the shutters you use to protect your windows and doors are in good shape now. Because they have a specific purpose, they may be stored away and left until they are needed. Some materials can deteriorate over time. You may also have parts that are missing. The day before a storm is not the time you want to find this out. Run a quick check on your shutters' status and inventory to make sure you don't get caught out.
Be proactive when it comes to your home's maintenance and upkeep. It is always better for your home and wallet. Do yourself a favour and take stock of what needs to be done. Write out that list, make that plan. Book your servicing appointments and be prepared for Hurricane Season 2021. You'll be happy you did.
Earth Day is tomorrow, and the global theme is Restore our Earth, which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world's ecosystems. With almost 365 days of sunshine along our shores, as a nation, we are in a unique position when it comes to benefitting from renewable and solar energy. As we expand our horizons, we are increasingly moving towards environmentally-friendly technologies and ways to reduce energy consumption, save on costs, and increase our sustainability practices.
Our homes today are relying more on solar-powered technologies. Existing residences are swapping out the old with the new where they can, and new residential builds are incorporating these capabilities from the ground-up.
While some are installing state-of-the-art solar energy systems, like this Turnberry home, others are introducing this technology in smaller doses to save on electricity bills and to cut back on their carbon footprint. Today, we have a host of options ranging from a solar panel for hot water or air conditioner to solar-powered sprinkler systems and outdoor lights for your yard. Even something as simple as swapping out those regular light bulbs for LED ones can help! Regardless of your budget, there are ways you can save!
For your Business
Across the country, many of our businesses have also started making the transition to more sustainable energy solutions - some in small ways, by changing out light bulbs to LED, replacing HVAC units with energy-efficient ones, and having programmable thermostats in offices. Others have adapted on a larger scale, with whole energy management systems and solar power systems. Going green with your business can help you cut costs on energy, but it can also have a positive impact when it comes to your company name and community relations.
For us All
On a larger scale, we've seen many initiatives unfold over the last several years to increase our green living as a country.
In 2013, the National Energy Policy was developed to connect the energy and economic sectors and create opportunities to use renewable energy in as many areas nationwide as possible. Policies outlined in the National Energy Policy pave the way toward achieving renewable energy targets for 2033, including the use of renewable energy in:
Some of these initiatives exist today, with the plans implemented and off the ground:
Thomas A. Robinson Solar Parking Lot
In 2019, the Thomas A. Robinson National stadium officially unveiled its solar parking lot. The 925-kilowatt grid-tied solar system will displace 310 thousand liters of diesel fuel annually, which should save the island 350 thousand dollars and offset 856 tons of carbon emissions annually. The lot has 324 parking stations and an additional two electric car charge ports for electric vehicles.
Family Island Solar Program
Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) launched the Family Island Solar Program with support from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Carbon War Room's Islands Energy Program. This program proposes to develop "solar-fueled power systems" on the Family Islands of Andros, Bimini, Eleuthera, and Inagua with hopes of meeting 30% of the electricity by the year 2030.
On the Horizon
Good news for our family, friends, and customers in Abaco and Grand Bahama! According to a report released by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the initial funding for electricity restoration on islands hit by Hurricane Dorian has been bolstered by the receipt of $9.739m in grant funding from the EU's Caribbean Investment Facility. The even better news is that this restoration is set to produce a 50 percent increase in renewable energy installed and battery storage capacity for additional resilience. Some of this funding is set to be allocated to installing a 4 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and energy storage, which will supply energy to the Marsh Harbour government complex and the Marsh Harbour's hospital. In Cooper's Town, the medical clinic will have a Solar PV plant of approximately 0.25 MW, including a storage capacity of close to 2 MW.
In New Providence, this funding will also be used to subsidize rooftop solar PV installations for a total additional renewable energy capacity of 2.5 MW. This will involve five commercial and 50 residential installations of 50 kilowatts (kW) and 5Kw, respectively, plus 20 systems for community buildings with a 100 kW capacity.
Located on the eastern shores of New Providence, Palm Cay spans over 69 acres, including 1200 ft of white sand beaches. It is home to more than 300 exquisite and expertly-designed stand-alone homes and condos. A host of amenities cater to their community of "ocean-loving adventurers," as they proudly say, and it's one of the aspects we love most about this community. Here's a closer look at what you can expect to find at Palm Cay.
A boater's paradise, Palm Cay offers everything any boating enthusiast could want - including a full-service, deep water marina, and the best location for accessing Rose Island and the Exumas - only 28 miles away! The 194-slip marina is considered world-class and has a fuel dock, Starbucks cafe, and concierge service. The marina partnered with NavTours, who specialize in sailboat charters in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, including our beautiful Bahamian islands. The Palm Cay marina is now home-base for the company's fleet of sailboat and catamaran charter boats.
Adding to the allure of this seaside community is the Pink Octopus Restaurant, the beachside Ink Bar and Palm Cay Club, which offers both an adult and family pool, as well as the Member's Beach Club. "Palm Cay's Members Beach Club recently underwent a $2 million transformation. This included the construction of a stunning beach bar, an opulent 80 ft. lap pool and a private section of luxury cabanas, as well as ample dining and entertainment space. Surrounded by white powder beaches and crystal-clear ocean, the members beach club is an embodiment of serenity and sophistication," states the developer.
A Dermalogica Spa is one of the newest additions to the seemingly endless list of amenities. Health and fitness enthusiasts enjoy a full complement of health and fitness options, with the gymnasium, tennis courts, water sports, and children's playground.
With an array of awards and achievements, including "Developer of the Year," by the Bahamian Contractor Association, and "#1 Marina" by FirstChoice Marina, over the years, Palm Cay continues to expand. The One Marina project is now complete, and development continues, with new opportunities coming soon.
Whether you're looking for a vibrant neighborhood to relocate your family to, or you're looking to purchase an investment property that you can put on the vacation rental market, this is the place. Bahamian tourism is on the rise again - a welcome update for us all. As we've seen already for the month of March, our tourism numbers exceeded most expectations, and it's true when they say our islands are a hot destination(but we already knew that). There continues to be growing interest in VRBO and Airbnb properties these days, and the Palm Cay community is thriving, making this both a great place you can escape from it all AND somewhere you can look to for strong investment opportunities.
But don't take our word for it! Discover for yourself the excitement that lies along the shores of this neighborhood. Check out our video tour with Melissa here, and explore this Anchorage condo, now available for rent!
If you're interested in building in this great community, here's a property that's perfectly placed close to the community tennis courts and playground!