hurricanes from the...
 
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hurricanes from the past

 
dannyboy
(@dannyboy)
Advanced Member

as part of my sleepless nights wondering what stx would really be like i came across some old HUGO stories. so i have to ask the questions that come to mind now. are you guys any more comfortable with leadership, emergency planning efforts,safety issues. what would you do if you were faced with this situation again. sorry for any pain i may cause to those who may have lived through this disaster. your thought in general regarding would be of interest to me and maybe others

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Topic starter Posted : April 16, 2009 10:19 am
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

Keep an eye out for Adelbrain. That man does love to loot. A good thing re both Hurricanes Hugo & Marilyn is that things were rebuilt much stronger. I at least know what to expect & how to plan better.

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Posted : April 16, 2009 11:02 am
chefnoah
(@chefnoah)
Trusted Member

I experienced my first hurricane last October with Omar. Was nothing compared to Hugo, but I live on the east end where it hit the hardest. We did everything they say to do. There were tons of power lines and trees down and the cleanup effort called for a curfew. We didn't have power for 9 days but we had fresh water, which helped tons.

I feel that things were put back together rather quickly. But, it was only a category 3. I can't imagine the power of Hugo. People still use it as a reference point in time. "Pre Hugo this, or after Hugo".

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Posted : April 16, 2009 12:20 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

It was only a category 3, but it never hit us. Which I am extremely grateful for. Its been over 10 years now since a 5 hast hit.....knock on wood knock on wood, knock on my head. The clean up from Omar was done quickly and efficently. If another 5 hits us I don't think the clean up will be any faster then it was in the past. All of the stories I've hears said it took power/phone/cable 6 months to a year, the time difference was just a matter of where you lived.

A five is just so devestating. If you're going to make this your home you have to think of living here like living way out in the middle of the country. Your home needs to be self reliant to a certain degree. We all stock up on can type foods, water, gas/diesal/propane for our generators, cash, etc for hurricane season. Most of the houses here are built to withstand a hurricane, you may bet flooding in your home and the worst is if you loose your roof, but usually the house remains. The hospitals and airports are some of the first things they always try to get up. So if you're really miserable after the hurricane you can always leave after it gets back up. Just make sure you have enough cash for a ticket.

Hurricanes are a reality here, its not if but when, so make sure you're up for it before you come. 🙂

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Posted : April 16, 2009 1:25 pm
nforbes
(@nforbes)
Trusted Member

That is a really good question. I hope that we never again have to have a hurricane with the strength of Hugo. St. Croix has not really fully recovered. I was 6, but I remember us not having power for months (we were lucky to have it turned on by Thanksgiving but others not until February) and that my sister had to go to the hospital which was really just trailers. The looting was out of control - people stood on top of their stores with semi-automatic weapons to keep looters as bay and my great aunt's store was looted of everything (it was a boutique - who knew so many people needed bikinis). My dad, Bobby Forbes, videotaped what was happening and CNN used the tape as coverage of the hurricane. I hope that we can and have learned from that experience and that we would be able to do better the next time around, but people during a disaster switch into different modes and what they would do or say they would do can be completely different when faces with a crisis. If it happened again, we would have no choice than to stay what with our animals and business here. Plus, this is our home. I just hope that if it does happen, we can get more national attention and assistance. I can say that our neighborhood came together, making sure everyone had food and generators and water.

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Posted : April 16, 2009 1:30 pm
Bombi
(@Bombi)
Trusted Member

The most important lesson learned is to be prepared and self sufficient as you can. After Omar we had no power for 3 weeks, but had a relieable gen set and fuel so water and food was ok. It took a few days to get our road cleared so we could get out. Building strength and shutters are mandatory. Get to know your neighbors and help each other. It works.

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Posted : April 16, 2009 2:23 pm
islandtyme
(@islandtyme)
Trusted Member

Omar had 154 MPH winds, tho it was recorded as a cat 3, it had speeds equalling a 4.
Vegetation was wiped clean in parts of the east.....stripped to the dirt. A neighbor lost his roof, some windows & almost every body had twisted broken trees. Utility poles were snapped in 2 & 3 pieces! The pool was chalked full of debris and way ward coconuts. Took 3 weeks to get power back.....no ice could be found for days...gas prices for the generator were brutal! We spent close to a grand just feeding the generator........then there was the cost of food. We had the canned goods & water, still it was easier just to go out to eat, and to catch up with others.
Omar was all the hurricane I ever want to experience!!!

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Posted : April 16, 2009 8:37 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

One other item from Omar: The governor went on the radio and TV (and even had automated phone calls) telling people about the curfew ahead of the storm AND it was enforced. Everyone who was in emergency services (hospital, WAPA, police, etc) had to show picture ID or were sent home. Everyone else was sent home. He did a great job of making sure that things could not get out of control.

You do have to prepare for the very worst re: your personal dwelling, but keeping civil order after the storm is very important.

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Posted : April 16, 2009 9:32 pm
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

For those of us in STT and STJ the pinnacle was Marilyn. The aftermath was surreal! I remember thinking the morning after the storm that is looked as if we had been BOMBED. The devastation was unbelievable.

I hope we don't see another like her again soon either!

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Posted : April 16, 2009 9:36 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

Pamela's right. When we could finally get out I remember driving by Mandela Circle & the camouflage army vehicles were everywhere & there was like a yellow haze over everything. It looked like Viet Nam after a battle. Tents set up outside the hospital for the injured's care. I drove past what was left of the grocery store that used to be across from the hospital & seeing the people including little kids carrying out whatever they could manage was unnerving. You saw the best & worst of people when a disaster like that happens.

When flights started coming in again & the trickle of tourists started appearing I heard someone outside (I had a FEMA tarp for a roof & no windows or screens) to discover a tourist snapping pictures through my kitchen window. I had been staying elsewhere but had to move back until I could find a more permanent place for me & the dogs when the reconstruction started. When I yelled at the jerk, he just said, "Oh, we're just looking around." I was so steamed I told him he was lucky he wasn't shot for being a looter & to go get his vacation picture someplace else."

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Posted : April 16, 2009 10:24 pm
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

For Marilyn, I repaired the generator that ran the entire Yacht Haven marina/hotel(what was left of it), it was under water, but running 5 days latter.This allowed the pump room to operate & give many a much needed shower.
Although I thought it could have run all the occupied buildings, power was rotated to keep loads to a minimum.

I put together a "Frankenstein"<(parts from dead units put together to assemble 1 live unit) generator for my own use the next day after the storm.
I had the lone light when it was dark for the first 2 weeks which made me a hero to some, hated from others(like trades best/wost comm).
I helped who I could, but you cant help(or light up all Yacht Haven) everyone with a 1.5 KW Frankenstein generator!
The lights/extension cords from it allowed us to keep a eye on thief's from Person gardens across the street from dusk till dawn.

My good friend Crazy Eddie fed everyone there(including the military) for over 2 weeks, all day!
The Military was so grateful for his not just sheer amount of food, but the taste of it, they donated cans of pork, beef, & chicken for him to use to feed the masses...

Eddie was, & is truly amazing!

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Posted : April 17, 2009 3:51 am
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

The super market across from from the hospital was Grand Union...
it was completely leveled!
The locals looted it to death!
All that was left were some twisted red iron, the IRB in the same lockhart owned complex was also destroyed as was Woolworth's to some extent.

The theory is, a tornado spawned from the hills leading to Skyline drive behind the hospital,headed south west, trashed Grand Union, hit Block Buster, went left to the auto parts store that doesn't exist anymore, to Domino's, hit part(but spared most of) pueblo, shot across the vacant lot (AKA Lake Turnbull) & into Yacht Haven(where it had a ball).
I was amazed as the rooms above, below & to each side of me were completely blown out!
I suspect since I had a window A.C. unit, the plywood for it blew in, & the over the outside door which had ventilation when the "E" building had central air, allowed some air to circulate so it didn`t implode like the other units.

This stuff just isn`t fun!

The looters see it as a opportunity, & start looting as the storm hits!

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Posted : April 17, 2009 4:14 am
SunshineCruzan
(@SunshineCruzan)
Advanced Member

nforbes,
Was your father's video the one that also had scenes from a helicopter flying over east end? There was no sound during the footage of the island's damage during the flying stuff. If so, I think I still have a copy on VHS. It hits you at the heart.

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Posted : April 17, 2009 4:16 am
DL
 DL
(@DL)
Advanced Member

nforbes, you should check if your dad can put the vids on youtube.

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Posted : April 17, 2009 12:42 pm
dannyboy
(@dannyboy)
Advanced Member

thanks for sharing these stories and helpful suggestions.it sounds like some lessons were learned since the BIG ONE! if you had your choice of locations to live,higher ground or more level terrain. was flooding an issue?

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Topic starter Posted : April 17, 2009 9:20 pm
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

From 1997 - 2002 my husband and I lived at sea level. I got tired of emptying all the cupboards and putting them up above the previous water line (3 1/2 feet) so I had my sister go to garage sales in the states and buy all the little blow up kiddie boats she could. Then I would just put everything from the closet in one on the floor. Everything in the bottom shelf in the pantry and was in a deflated boat. Drawers under the bed would be taken out and put in rubber boats. Looked very funny but hurricane prep become pretty much running around the house and pumping up little rubber boats. The computer equipment, etc. was over five feet so we just unplugged those and covered with plastic in case the roof leaked. Made for an easier hurricane prep and it was absolutely hilarious when things started floating around the apartment! Or perhaps that was the rum after the hurricane prep was done?

That being said I love living over 850 feet in the air now! No more rubber boats.

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Posted : April 18, 2009 1:11 am
no0ne
(@no0ne)
Advanced Member

I was on STT during Hugo. The house I was in was in a sort of U shaped dead end with only two sides exposed, and it was a very old house with very thick concrete walls. I think one of the gutters fell off during the storm, and that was the extent of the damage.

After, we would trade batteries out of the car at night, and use the full one by turning off the main power switch and hooking the battery in. Then we used little DC boat lights to light up certain rooms.

We were also lucky that we had an old full cistern above the house. I simply ran a hose to the water pump for the cistern under the house, and shut off the connection to this lower cistern. Albeit cold, we did have running water.

I think it took over two months for power to be restored to that part of the Northside, but we fared better than most.

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Posted : April 18, 2009 4:31 am
dannyboy
(@dannyboy)
Advanced Member

pamela, sorry but you made me laugh at your creative way of dealing with the preparation. just shows how resourceful one has to be given the situation*-)

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Topic starter Posted : April 18, 2009 12:30 pm
nforbes
(@nforbes)
Trusted Member

I'm not sure how a 1989 VHS could go on YouTube...but it would be interesting to find out!

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Posted : April 20, 2009 3:50 pm
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