Sunday, August 19, 2007


As you can see by the above National Hurricane Center map, Jamaica is directly in the path of Hurricane Dean, an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm which may yet get stronger.

Through the magic of the internets, you can listen to Jamaica’s talk-radio station, Power 106 FM, in real time. Right now, I’m hearing phone calls from Jamaicans in New York, Texas and the U.K., as well as from all parts of the island. [UPDATE: Power 106 is now off the air; Jamaica shut down power on the island late this morning, in advance of Dean’s arrival.]

And then there’s the blogosphere. Here is what a few Jamaican bloggers wrote yesterday about the approaching danger.
FRANCIS WADE (at Moving Back to Jamaica): ... Here in Kingston at 12:00pm the sky is blue, there are almost no clouds and there is a nice cooling breeze.

Perfect beach weather.

And Jamaicans are standing by ready to proclaim one of two things on Tues morning.

“God listens to prayers and decided to spare us, out of his mercy”
“God has sent us a powerful sign, a judgment on our wicked ways” ...

It’s the first time that I am back in Jamaica for what one of nature’s “big events.” The weatherman has been particularly excited for the past few days, speaking faster than usual, with a hint of excitement in his voice and the knowledge that many, many people were hanging on to his very words.

Calls are coming from all over the globe from family and friends who are concerned about what is coming.

Flights are filled with people escaping what winds, rains and destruction that is heading this way.

We are fully expecting to lose power, internet, phones and water and that roads will be closed until they are cleared of debris, and until the inevitable looting stops.

So, we sit here waiting, doing the best we can to prepare ourselves.

And it’s still a really nice sunny day today, with blue skies and hardly any clouds and a light breeze.

STUNNER (at Stunner’s Afflictions): Yes folks, even though this morning is a bright sunny beautiful morning, Jamaica’s worst nightmare has just been realized! within a few hours Jamaica will begin to feel the first impacts of the Cat 4, or even possible Cat 5 Hurricane Dean. ...

I have not done much preparation for this hurricane. I think what I have done so far is sufficient. I bought myself some bottled water, tin food, easy to cook non-perishables, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions. I did this from Thursday, yes I know it was early, but I did it to avoid the mad rush the few hours before the hurricane, and also because...

I will be at work! What the hell! Yes I have been forcibly drafted in the hurricane team and will be at work for quiet a long time. During the entire pre-hurricane, hurricane and post-hurricane periods. So I will spend the rest of my day securing the home front, then later it will be off to work. I guess some of us have to make sure vital services like communication remains up during such a critical time. I would rather not be at work and at home to somehow protect my property... or at least feel like I am... somehow!

... I am just hoping that by some miracle Dean decides to dip southwards and spare Jamaica the carnage! I know for a certain that our already limping economy and substandard facilities cannot handle a Cat 4 much more a Cat 5.

... To my fellow Bloggers in Jamaica and Cayman, stay safe and those not affected, keep us in your prayers.

[NOTE: While tourists yesterday scrambled to get off the island, this next blogger – a woman known as “Yamfoot” – flew from Grenada to Jamaica, her home country, to ride out the storm.]

YAMFOOT (at The 5th Decade... What’s In Store?): 1. Got collected at airport around 1:15pm. The ride over wasn’t too bumpy. ... Did errands like buying fruits and coconut water.

2. Went to the hairdresser. The hairdresser?????????? Yup. I had made an appointment for Monday but who knows what Monday will be like and the tough nigger head needed to be relaxed.

3. Driving around St Andrew today, everybody was walking with shopping bags in their hands, showing some sign of preparedness. But I passed a shack/shop on the side of Barbican Road who hadn’t yet started to take down his stuff. I guess he feels he has time. The radio station reported extended opening hours of some supermarkets up to midnight tonight and from 8am tomorrow morning up to 4 hours before Dean is expected. Not sure they should open.

4. When you looked up into the sky earlier this afternoon, it looked like a typical Caribbean weather day. Blue skies, some clouds, not much. By the time I was leaving the hairdresser at 6:20pm, there were just a few dark clouds but nothing to suggest that something so catastrophic is looming less than 500 miles east of us!

5. A friend called me from Grenada tonight. He asked me if I was crazy to have left Grenada to come here, knowing Big Dean was approaching. He wasn’t the only one. When I was putting my suitcase in the car at the airport this afternoon, a man walked by me, looked at me and muttered “so why you come here for...yuh nuh see si hurricane ah come?”

They don’t understand the concept that for me, it’s better to be with my family, knowing what is happening with them, than me being safe far away. ...


Eric said...

My wife and I visited Grand Cayman in May, and our whole family is planning to spend a week in Jamaica this Thanksgiving, so I'm taking this one kind of personally. (Silly and self-centered, I know. If there's one thing a hurricane is not, it's personal.)

RC said...

Gee, UBM, a category 5 is ultra deadly, been there, done that. Before I was in that one I used to get a kick out of the big winds and the whipping around trees. But no more.
The aftermath of these storms is much worse than the actual storm. The psychological and sociological upheaval lasts for 5 or 10 years.
Um, how about New Orleans?
Dean just bobbed down under us here in PR on Saturday. We were extra lucky.
I send courage to points west. It will be no pretty picture, lots of drowning certainly.