Hurricane Irma, my first experience of a hurricane in Nevis [new blog]
Last week, I experienced the other side of living on an island. Hurricane Irma, my first experience of a hurricane in Nevis. Hurricane season is from the beginning of June until the end of November. Nearly two weeks ago, we had news that Hurricane Irma was approaching.
According to CNN, hurricane watches had been issued for the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis. “Irma is expected to impact the northeastern Leeward Islands by the middle of this week as a major hurricane, accompanied by dangerous wind, storm surge, and rainfall impacts, along with rough surf and rip currents,” the agency said.
The older Nevisians were not as worried about the hurricane. They kept saying that we need to have faith in God and that the island would be okay. I am a believer in the higher power but I also believe that people should do their best to protect themselves as best as possible to make sure they are safe, and let God do the rest.
I was very nervous as I have never been in Nevis or the Caribbean during a hurricane. It’s one thing to hear about it in the news but another thing to actually experience it. My stomach was doing knots in the days before Hurricane Irma was predicted to pass through the islands, and I stepped up my prayers a lot. Friends and family from England were calling and texting to stay safe and keep us in their prayers.
Last week Monday, as the weather warnings became more serious, people on the island started to prepare. Islanders and the Medical University of the Americas (MUA) students were buying gallons of water, snacks, and tinned food. Others stocked up on gas, so the petrol stations on the island were busy. The advice was to prepare to be indoors for a few days and without gas or power.
The winds were estimated to be over 175 miles per hour. On Monday night it started to rain. During the day on Tuesday, the sky was darker than usual and it felt windy. At 5:30 p.m. the current went out. We thought this was the start of the hurricane. However, it came back on about an hour later.
I was so fortunate that I had family on the island from England. I was able to stay with them through the process. Some of us went for a drink at the neighbouring bar, whilst we waited for the intruder to start making its way. At around 8:30 p.m. the current went out and this time it didn’t come back on.
In the house, we had a lot of lanterns and candles. We sat on the veranda catching the cold breeze until about 11.30 p.m. when the winds started to pick up. The last of the hurricane shutters on the house was locked, and a few windows were left cracked open on either side of the house. This was to help prevent the pressure of the high winds causing the roof to come off.
Luckily for Nevis, Hurricane Irma shifted, so we had a lot of wind and rain. The beaches were affected but there was minimal structural damage in comparison to our island neighbours. During the day after the storm had passed, we stayed indoors ate and drank because the rainfall was too heavy to go outside and it was a dull day. The sun did not make an appearance.
If you’ve read my earlier posts, you will know that I spent three weeks in St. Maarten with my family for their annual carnival. We managed to stay in contact with relatives in St. Maarten, however, the island was so badly impacted by Irma, that we lost contact for a while.
My prayers go out to my those in the neighbouring islands who have been badly impacted by this intruder. There are a number of charities who are making provisions for the victims of this disaster.
Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes and kept us in your prayers during this nerve-racking time. It is much appreciated. Thankfully we are safe.
Due to the passing of Hurricane Irma, the Nevis Marathon and Running Festival was cancelled.
This past week has been a strange week with Hurricane Irma causing so much devastation, then I heard that back home, my business coach Adam Brooks was a victim of the Birmingham church stabbing. A lot of people are on my prayer list.