There is an old Mariners Rhyme I learned after moving to the Bahamas in 2004……
June too soon.
July stand by.
August come it must.
October all over.
*Hurricane season actually ends at the end of November which is a good indication of the age of this rhyme and how the climate has shifted since it was written.
Before the Hurricane
Anyone who has ever visited a Caribbean Island or the sunny state of Florida might have a hard time imagining how hurricanes can turn these little tropical escapes into living nightmares.
Remember that pristine sandy beach? The one you lazily stretched out on. The one with the view of gin clear blue waters. The same one where the warm salty breeze tickled your skin as you sipped your frozen cocktail. Bliss, right?
Now picture that beach being swallowed by a massive storm surge….the Atlantic churning violently amid 90 Ft. swells. The pleasant salty breeze is now a howling beast charging at over 160 MPH and snapping majestic palms like twigs. The beast is lifting roofs, smashing buildings and obliterating your version of paradise. You’re glad you can’t see the ocean because you know it could take you in one greedy gulp. You’re terrified by the unrelenting moan of the wind and anxiety riddled that your current shelter might not weather the storm. This is the reality of people enduring a “catastrophic” hurricane.
Before a hurricane – Islanders, Floridians and Texans will be glued to weather advisories and the internet as they try to make sense of the gazillion different spaghetti models. They know it’s pointless as the models are so rarely accurate. But they are grasping at straws. They want to hear they’ve dodged the bullet. Often they do.
When You’re Not So Lucky
- Lowing Lying Areas and Beaches are Evacuated – you don’t want to be home when the Atlantic Ocean takes possession of your living room.
- Tie Down Boats or Anchor them Securely – essential unless you want your skiff ending up on your neighbours lawn.
- Secure Loose Objects i.e. patio furniture and even coconuts – those bitches fly like ballistic missiles.
- Board up Windows – one smashed window is enough to cause an upward draft that could lift your roof.
- Store Clean Drinking Water and Fill Bathtubs – you don’t know when stores will reopen or shelves will be restocked.
- Fuel Cars and Generators – you don’t know how long the pumps will be down post storm.
- Beware of the Eye – don’t be the douche that gets decapitated during the eye while trying to update your Instagram. (The eye is a temporary lull in the storm)
- Stay at Home – Even if you run out of booze….don’t leave home.
- Cash is King – ATMs might be down for weeks.
Stock up on dry goods, alcohol, and batteries. Fill your first aid kid, have a cook stove (and propane). Let commonsense rule and assume you might be weeks before you can restock.
During the hurricane
Wait, drink, wait, drink, wait. Maybe sleep. Then repeat.
After the hurricane
Most people don’t realize how devastatingly awful life can be post hurricane. The wind is gone but the residual water is still wreaking havoc. Storm surges have caused mass flooding in low-lying places and high rainfall might trigger mudslides in Islands like Dominican Republic and Haiti where there is higher elevation.
Most roads are impassable due to flooding or downed trees and power lines. Street lights don’t work, and most street signs have disappeared. The roads are eerie.
The power is out. Sometimes for weeks and even months. Can you imagine being without power for weeks on end? There is no available drinking water except for what you remembered to stock. Or in most cases, could afford to stock. Many roofs are missing, windows are blown out and some buildings have been reduced to nothing.
Finally, the sun comes out and the water dries up. But now it’s HOT. There is no air conditioning to retreat to. The earth and sea have churned up massive amounts of flies. Still lying pools of water have bred mosquitoes by the masses. Everything is filthy and the air smells slightly rank.
Slowly, you dust yourself off, and sober up in many cases. If you were fortunate enough to escape unscathed and have no real property damage…. then you go down the road looking for someone who needs help. There will be a long line.
My thoughts lie with my dear crew in St. Croix, Dominican Rep., Bahamas (GBI ❤️, Nassau, Abaco, Briland), Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Tampa. I will be glued to the internet till I know this Bitch has past and you all come out the other side.
For more information on hurricanes. Click Below.