Goodbye, Sandy. So Glad You’re Gone!

It occurred to me a few days ago that we might finish the hurricane season without getting hit. Then one of my neighbors asked if I’d heard that a storm was approaching. I hadn’t. It was so early in its formation, it didn’t even have a name.

By Monday, it did: Sandy. I know a few people who share the name and had a little laugh at their expense. But there would be no joking about this Sandy.

She was headed directly for Jamaica on a path that would have her cross directly south to north through the center of the island. I was nervous. A broad storm passing through central Jamaica would have untold impact on the entire island, not just the parishes in its path.

Hurricane Sandy, Jamaica photo from RJRonline
Hurricane Sandy, Jamaica photo from the internet at RJRonline

I have clear memories of a hurricane that brushed Jamaica when I was about 5 or 6. By the time the storm had passed, our street and lawn were flooded, and there was neither electricity nor water. At that age, it seemed like fun.

Older, and hopefully wiser now, I’m fully aware of the damage a hurricane can cause. Hurricanes are wildly unpredictable and this one had Jamaica in its crosshairs.

Twenty plus years ago, Hurricane Gilbert’s eye also crossed Jamaica. One of the most dangerous storms to hit the island, it killed fifty people and caused millions of dollars worth of damage. It took the country months before it returned to normal.

Gilbert made us take notice. It provided fodder for the song of the same name that Lovindeer, a local musician, wrote in its praise. Wild, Wild, Wild Gilbert became a wildly successful hit that year. Yea, I was nervous but I didn’t fully get how nervous until Sandy passed.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall on Wednesday afternoon near Kingston, crossed northeast and continued out to sea near Portland. It battered the eastern parishes of Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary and caused much damage to parts of Kingston and St. Catherine.

Fierce winds brought down power lines, flattened banana plantations, damaged houses, blew off roofs, felled trees and caused rivers to overflow their banks. Residents in low lying areas were evacuated and there was a curfew in certain areas until 6pm tonight. So far, only one death has been attributed to Sandy — a man was killed when a boulder rolled over on to his house.

We were lucky here in the west — I’ve seen heavier rainfalls than what we eventually received. It got a little windy but damage was negligible. We lost power and water for 2 hours, during the afternoon but I didn’t even have to take out my lantern.

It was overcast this morning but the sun finally broke through and I feel ten pounds lighter. I didn’t even realize that I had a knot in my stomach the last few days until it was no longer there.

After hitting Jamaica and Haiti, Hurricane Sandy moved north to Cuba, the Bahamas and is now headed towards the mainland. Hopefully, she’ll weaken further and not cause any more damage.

So, what should you do if a hurricane hits while you’re traveling?

If it makes you feel more comfortable, try to get on an earlier flight home. It might cost you to change your ticket but peace of mind is priceless.

If you do decide to stay, make sure to follow the instructions given by hotel employees. They are experienced in handling hurricane-related circumstances. It goes without saying, stay away from water.

If you’re staying in a villa, you might want to make your way to a larger property to wait out the storm. The most important thing is to stay indoors until the storm passes. Be safe!

28 comments on “Goodbye, Sandy. So Glad You’re Gone!

  1. Well, Jack, if you go outside, you could be hit by flying objects — everything that isn’t secured properly become airborne during a storm. Better to stay inside.

  2. I’ve been in one humongous wind storm in Vancouver which tore up a chunk of Stanley Park. I remember just pacing all day and we did lose power for over 24 hours. You’re right about the knot in the stomach -I would have had one too. Glad to hear you came out alright though it does sound like more deaths have been attributed to Sandy in the news I’ve read..

  3. I dont have a clue of what I would do if a hurricane strikes during my travels!! Never faced any, nothing even resembling a hurricane here in Mumbai. Maybe I will rely on my friends like you to give me some advise.

  4. Glad to hear that Sandy skirted your area. Hurricanes always look fascinating on TV, but I don’t think I’d want to be caught in the middle of a big one. Fortunately, most of them don’t make their way up to Western Canada. Probably too cold for them.

  5. You’re right, they’d never make it there.
    Honestly, I never even thought that hurricanes would go north until I moved to the States.
    I’m still surprised when they do and it’s happening more and more these days.

  6. It can be a really scary thing. My niece was here for the summer a few years ago when the last one hit.
    She was so shaken by it, for a while she didn’t want to return.

  7. Thanks, Leigh. That must have been quite a scary experience. It really makes us realize that we’re not in control of anything!
    I’ve heard that too. I guess those must have happened between Cuba and the Bahamas. I’m always amazed by the level of destruction a Cat 1 hurricane can cause.

  8. Just one life lost is a tragedy, of course, but I am glad to hear that it wasn’t worse, Marcia.

  9. Thanks, Andrew, you’re right. She’s now heading for the east coast.
    I’m always surprised that a Cat 1 hurricane can travel so far, so quickly and cause so much damage.
    Hope those who believes that there’s no global warming are paying attention.

  10. So glad you and your family are doing fine, Marcia! I grew up experiencing typhoons in the Pacific islands so I know that feeling. Good travel tips when traveling.

  11. Now that Sandy has hit New Jersey & New York we’re getting a really good look at how devastating these hurricanes can be. I’ve never been close to one and hope I don’t have that experience, but I have wondered about how hotels and resorts handle the situation. In NYC, I’m sure there were many tourists in town. It might be interesting to hear from some of guests.

  12. Vicious ocean storms are nothing new. Look into the Grote Mandrenke which reshaped the coastline of Western Europe and killed tens of thousands. If that exact storm replayed now, it would be taken as evidence of “climate change,” but what it would really evidence is a chaotic, nonlinear system that kicks out an unbelievably strong storm from time to time. The U.S. is currently experiencing the longest stretch of days between major landfalling hurricanes. The last one to strike U.S. shores was Wilma, in 2005.

  13. Irene gave us a preview last year but not even that could have prepared folks on the East Coast for Sandy. This one was off the charts!
    A lot of people are still without electricity — it’s not a pleasant experience. We were without electricity for 3 days earlier this year, it sure made me realize how dependent we are on it.
    You’re right, Cathy, it would be great to talk to some of the visitors who’re in NYC now.

  14. Thanks, Debbie. You’re right, though, we all have something to deal with.
    Earthquakes scare me — we have them here too, and tornadoes, though not as much, thankfully.

Comments are closed.