The Caribbean region is making preparations for the 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1 and runs until the end of November. Powerful storms can strike throughout the region during this period, with the largest concentration of storms typically occurring between August and October. An unusually early storm already formed this year - Tropical Storm Arlene - which was detected in late April but dissipated without making landfall.
Hurricanes and tropical storms have the potential to cause major damage, loss of life, widespread power outages, and travel disruptions, particularly in areas with subpar infrastructure and weak emergency response capacities, for example Haiti. More than 500 people were killed in Haiti during the passage of Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane that made landfall in early October 2016. The storm caused major infrastructural damage and destroyed or damaged some 120,000 homes.
Individuals present in the region are advised to stay abreast of information regarding storms via the US-based National Hurricane Center website and/or local media. In the event of a storm, individuals present in areas forecast to be affected should stock up on enough food and water to last several days, follow all instructions issued by local authorities, and distance themselves from the coast and other bodies of water. If an evacuation order is given, leave immediately; otherwise, remains indoors until authorities have indicated that the storm has passed, keeping mind that the "eye" of the storm is marked by calm, clear conditions but is followed by the most powerful and destructive part of the storm.
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