Omar - lessons lear...
 
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Omar - lessons learned

 
EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
Advanced Member

Hi folks,

I really hope that everyone made it through Omar OK... I was definitely following it and thinking about everyone.

I'm sure everyone is still busy recovering from flooding, debris, no road access, etc. so I didn't want to post this right away.

But, if you get the chance, I'd love to hear what lessons you learned from Omar: What do you think worked well? Were there any surprises? What do you think you will do differently next time? Did the government do a better job this time?

And, for those that just built their homes in the last year or so - how did they hold up? what design features worked as expected? what design features didn't work as hoped?

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Topic starter Posted : October 17, 2008 2:10 pm
Marty on STT
(@Marty_on_STT)
Trusted Member

Frenchman's Bay/Limetree Beach: Omar who? Didn't even notice it and ya can't tell that anything happened by looking out my windows...looks just like always has (except for one tree): http://www.flickr.com/photos/arjeje/?saved=1

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Posted : October 17, 2008 2:48 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

I learned that the little 2 stroke generator I bought for $120 at Cost U Less may be the best damn thing I've ever bought. I also learned that if they say Cat 1 prepare for Cat 3, if they say Cat 3 prepare for Cat 5 etc. I would've taken my Satellites down if I would've known it was Cat 3 although they made it just fine (had to repoint them, took 5 minutes). I also learned that my basement floods in a hurricane...and that the rest of my house is a FORTRESS! Most importantly, a real generator is now up much higher on my list of things that I need to get soon.

Sean

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Posted : October 17, 2008 9:56 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Eng: The business of forecasting storms has greatly improved since I have lived here. In 1995 we were following Marilyn by plotting points on a map. There was very limited weather information compared to now. They have gotten very sophisticated in tracking the path, but are still trying to get a grip on future strength. I was talking to a new resident who was not very concerned because Omar "was not supposed to become a hurricane until after it passed." Well, when you are in the cone of uncertainty of a tropical storm, you have to plan for it being Category 5 . I am surprised at the boats left at anchor on St Croix. That was a lesson of Marilyn: Put your boat in the mangrove. Another lesson is: storms are not points, they affect a lot of territory. For instance, this storm had surge that was felt all the way down the island chain- Antigua, Dominica, etc. You can miss the eye, but still have damage. And another lesson: each storm has its own signature. Marilyn, for example, was supposed to be a little storm, however, she went through an intensification phase as she reached us. I suspect this is what happened with Omar and St Croix, too. Also, the steering winds and other conditions change that signature- this one had tons of rain and waves out in front of it, the weak side was much weaker than the strong (the east end of St Croix was brushed by the left eye wall- thank heavens it wasn't the right!), and it sped up tremendously as it found its way between the BVI and St Martin (didn't sit there for three days like Lenny did.)

One observation: A radio host said after the storm that Omar was coming directly for us, but with everyone praying, it turned away. This is the belief of a good number of people.

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Posted : October 18, 2008 12:12 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

Prepare for the worst - hope for the best.

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Posted : October 18, 2008 1:26 pm
bethburnett70
(@bethburnett70)
Advanced Member

Things I am glad we did:

Filled bunch of gallon jugs with drinking water. (Our cistern is drinkable, but it looks a lot less appealing coming directly from the cistern, as opposed to through the filters.) We also threw a lot of jugs in the freezer, so when the power went out, they kept the freezer cold for a long time, and then went into the cooler to keep that cold.

Something I wish I had done:

Bought more batteries. I didn't realize how quickly batteries would die when you have the portable lamp/radio/whatever on continuously.

Battery powered fans!!!

I am more thankful for the generator than I ever though possible... it isn't enough to power the fridge and is too loud to leave on all night, but being able to have power for a few hours each day has been wonderful for recharging cell phones, and flashlight batteries and spending a little time in front of the fan!

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Posted : October 18, 2008 9:45 pm
KLJ555
(@KLJ555)
Advanced Member

A couple of mundane things--

We didn't have water b/c the pumps require electricity (we are in a condo), so it would have been a good idea to have plenty of paper cups, plates and plastic cutlery on hand.

Gallows Bay hardware was selling flashlights on small tripods. This was great b/c we set them up around the condo and had enough light so that we didn't kill ourselves tripping on things in the dark at night.

Audible books. Downloaded a few books to listen to--made a big difference since the only TV channel we could get was PBS. I don't care how intellectually curious you think you are, 2 days of steady PBS is 1 1/2 days to many! It was nice to listen to a book when it was too dark to read.

We also put a bunch of ice in the freezer and refridg. and that worked well (we did have back up power for the refridg, but we couldn't run it continuously)

Had friends over to grill thawing meat. It was less depressing to have company.

Since we didn't have water, we finally caved in and stayed at a hotel Friday night to enjoy a shower and some air conditioning.

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Posted : October 19, 2008 11:26 am
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

After Hugo, I got really sick of watching the Frugal Gourmet on WTJX & that went on for ages.

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Posted : October 19, 2008 3:24 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

I don't care how intellectually curious you think you are, 2 days of steady PBS is 1 1/2 days to many!

LOL! There is also The Teaching Company: http://www.teach12.com/teach12.aspx. They do CD, DVD and downloadable courses on a wide variety of subjects. Much better than listening to the radio in the car!

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Posted : October 19, 2008 3:35 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

lesson learned, live either on feeder 1 or 5 as they usually get the power back on first. feeder 1 is for downtown christiansted and feeder 5 is for the hospital. also we do really have a strong roof and im glad we live on the top floor as the bottom 2 units had about 1/2 to 1 inch of water. we do have roof damage and one wall has water seepage a few palm fronds down a trellis that is damaged. its also good to have a boyfriend who is a contractor and can take care of all repairs. we also have a wonderful landlord. i also learned that stanford really took care of downtown, we went down thursday and were surprised by all of the security, heck one even walked down to the end of the street to check things and you cant even get the postal service to deliver mail to us. all in all in was not a bad experience for my first hurricane. i am so thankful it was not worse and i really hope it does not take 2-3 months for the east end to get power. did drive out there and was shocked at all of the powerlines down, a bit hard to navigate around.

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Posted : October 20, 2008 9:04 am
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

I don't know which article snapper read but the ones I read in the avis said 90% by Monday. There is no way it will take 2 or 3 months we didn't get that much damage.

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Posted : October 20, 2008 11:01 am
snapper
(@snapper)
Advanced Member

We took a drive around the whole island on Sunday...........its not just the pole damage it is the lack of transformers ............the man I know works for WAPA and he told me there are only 16 on the islands combined and STX lost over a 100............take a drive around the Island.........my friend lives in Turner hole they have 21 poles down we live in cane bay and have 17 down and 9 transformers........... before they even get to the corner store.....I would love to believe we will have power soon ........I live here and I know how fast things happen...........I still have no power at my restaurant in down town Fredrichstad......... try driving out towards Butler bay .......lets hope we all have power soon.....

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Posted : October 20, 2008 11:35 am
Bombi
(@Bombi)
Trusted Member

All is good. My dirt driveway had some erosion. My favorite lime tree blew down. The house was amazing. No water infiltration. No damage. I slept almost all the way through the storm. We could hear the really hard rain on the roof but could hardly here the wind.
Houses all around had some minor wind damage. The generator is working perfectly, we run it @ 10 hours a day.
We had some good size rocks come down the hill but none hit the house. Backhoe soon come.
The 3/4 inch plywood on 2 inch frames, mounted with pintle hinges are the way to go. Just close them, no nuts, bolts or clips, and they reinforce the West Indian look.
I had a big pile of lumber in the yard that I lashed down with straps and re bar, it stayed. We hauled the boat and anchored it to the land with the anchors and rope and re bar. I left the drain plug in so it would fill up with rain water for weight. It worked, several other small boats were blown around mine stayed.
What I would do different. I would get more ice. I like my beer really cold, and work toward getting some pavement on the drive way

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Posted : October 20, 2008 1:11 pm
stephaniev
(@stephaniev)
Advanced Member

I learned that the hurricane shutters leak water, underneath the most, my condo on the 2nd floor was flooded w/about an inch.All in all it was fun,I definatley need a generator for fridge micro etc. We got our power on Fri afternoon,still no tv. Glad to see everyone is ok!

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Posted : October 20, 2008 2:23 pm
GoodToGo
(@GoodToGo)
Trusted Member

Funny you should mention this. Someone pointed out to me yesterday that the eye of the storm literally bobbed and weaved cutting a path AROUND several islands as if prayers pushed it around from hitting things. I'm still amazed at the lack of loss of life or even major structural damage (I don't think I've heard of any houses, even the shacks, being demolished by the high winds.) I might not recognize or see miracles on a daily basis but if people are calling this one I certainly can't disagree!

...
One observation: A radio host said after the storm that Omar was coming directly for us, but with everyone praying, it turned away. This is the belief of a good number of people.

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Posted : October 20, 2008 2:24 pm
divinggirl
(@divinggirl)
Trusted Member

EngEMP -

1. Prepare for the worst (my husband thought I was "over-reacting" when I insisted that we put up the shutters/plywood starting on Tuesday. Later, when the storm got worse quickly he agreed it was the right thing to do). I will never regret a few hours of preparation even if it were done in vain!
2. Fill water jugs and put them in my freezer as it keeps it colder longer and ice can be hard to buy right before and after a storm (I usually have it over half full with ice but we had just used most of it and not replaced it).
3. All my new windows upstairs (and I have many that need replacing) will have accordion shutters on them. It is worth the time saved in prepping for a storm to be able to just shut them quickly and not have to drag around a large ladder to put up plywood or shutter panels. If you use plywood for windows and have it cut/labeled for each window make sure they are stored laying down flat or they will bow out and new holes will have to be drilled - lesson learned!
4. Ensure your foundation is coated well with foundation tar (we found out after the Sept storms that ours was not - lots of water in our downstairs apartment/pump room). We dug out the foundation (the week before Omar) and coated it with tar but were unable to get the backhoe in to refill it before the storm. Over 5 feet of water sat against our foundation for 4 days....not a single leak!
5. Buy good LED lights. They provide good light to read buy (stock up on books) and run long on battery power. I have some that run for over 30 hours on 3 AA's.
6. Invest in good battery powered tools. We have a Ryobi set with lithium batteries that are great. You can buy a battery powered fan that works great that goes with the kit. That fan allowed us to sleep until the power came back on.
7. Have a generator....you will be glad - I was! Be prepared to run it a few hours a day but not overnight (unless you have enough $$ to get a big one that runs the whole house and have an auto transfer switch).
Plan, prepare, plan, prepare....that's the important part!

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Posted : October 20, 2008 3:47 pm
DixieChick
(@DixieChick)
Trusted Member

Our house is two years old. The shutters and glass sliders seemed to not hold up like they should have. The shutters gave and the glass bowed , came out of the gaskets and even cracked. I didnt have that happen in my old house which was built in the 60's.

Also some leaks from ceiling. Not sure what caused that. But the first time for new house through a storm so will know next time what to watch out for. All and all we were pretty lucky.

Hope builders arent getting lax since we have been missed the pass few years.

Someone needs to develope a pool cover that sits below water level to catch debri so we dont have to spent hours cleaning out junk.

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Posted : October 20, 2008 4:33 pm
KLJ555
(@KLJ555)
Advanced Member

Another lesson learned --we had a light fixture next to the front door and of course the bulb and globe were no where to be found after the storm. Next time we will bring both in--it's the little things that you completely forget.

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Posted : October 20, 2008 8:47 pm
sherri
(@sherri)
Advanced Member

Tho we live in STT and had no where near the action that STX did, we DEFINITELY prepared for the WORST!
Everything brought in, shuttered up, our shack emptied of all personal, electrical items, (except furniture-heck that will help hold our shack down), and all satellite dishes taken down.
Very good advice above- sounds like most of us have this down now! Don't EVER forget what Marilyn did or Hugo for that matter. Marilyn was supposed to be 80mph winds and she intensified on us! Island 80% destroyed, so never underestimate!
Never down play a storm, you may get surprised!

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Posted : October 22, 2008 1:15 pm
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