Friday, August 26, 2011


In my previous blog I mentioned Irene was coming to the Bahamas for a visit.  She came and she left and now I can breathe.  She was a cat 3 packing winds at 125 but thankfully we escaped her full impact.  Every year I rehearse how to prepare for a hurricane, having been through smaller hurricanes, but you always hope it won't come.  It's been about 3 years now and The Bahamas was blessed not to be affected by a hurricane.  Here's how I prepared for Irene.

Monday - A colleague telephoned to say Hurricane Irene was scheduled to hit the Bahamas on Thursday, this was later confirmed after listening to the news.

Tuesday - I checked my pantry and decided I had enough can goods to last for approx  1-2 weeks.  Called the plumber to see if he could come to fix my outside hand pump (this would come in handy if city water was shut down)

  • (morning) - Withdrew funds from ATM, filled car with gas, purchased snacks & paper supplies from grocery store. 
  • (afternoon) - Hurricane shutters went up, sand bags purchased to be placed by doors.  I forgot I didn't purchase drinking water, I have 3 five-gallon bottles, 1 was full the other two were empty.  The search was fruitless, every place was out of water.
  • (evening) - went through my purse took out important items to go in backpack, a backpack is easier to carry than a purse plus it can hold more.  Filled it with 1 change of under clothes, toiletries, wallet, credit card, keys, all of my jump drives, camera and of course lipstick & eyeliner....most went into baggies just in case of flooding and I dropped my backpack. 

  • Remembered to turn the refrigerator to 'coldest' and began filling empty containers and baggies with water.  I remembered some years ago when we experienced a small hurricane the electricity was off for two days.  We had water but we didn't have ice.  Besides I was hoping all of the ice would help to keep my freezer cold.
  • It was around 6pm and the plumber hadn't shown up which means I would have to result to filling up the bathtub with water.  Moved all of my pictures to high shelves and put some in plastic garbage bags, my house can be replaced but not pictures of my family.  At 7pm I check out the door and the plumber is working on my hand pump...Thank God!
  • (evening) Strong winds developed and the rain started.  Now, all I had to do was sit in wait.  Although I had sand bags placed by the door, I decided to spray insecticide around the doors to restrain insects from crawling in.  I had been told the electricity would be shut off just as the storm hit the island, something to do with safeguarding the generators, etc.
  • (early a.m.) 12:00 midnight electricity shuts off but comes back.  By this time the wind is banging against the house and it makes a whistling noise as it pass through the shutters.
  • 4:00am can't sleep because of the wind, I've heard stories of roofs being lifted and people having to run to a neighbors home for safety, my back pack, keys, shoes & hat are at the door just in case.
  • 6:00am electricity still on and I'm glued to the weather channel trying to figure out where the storm is.  How much longer do I have to listen to the pounding?  Thankfully the electricity is still on I feel safe.  My sister called and we talk for awhile.  I'm still nervous, so I warm up some leftover pizza and tea for breakfast.  It's light outside and I can see out the back windows that don't have shutters on them.  A few limbs are on the ground but everything seems to be okay.  There's no build up of water.  Decide I'll go on facebook to see what everybody is talking about.
  • 7:00am electricity goes off.  Hard rain falls, the wind is loud like a train.  I sit and wait.  The house is hot, I have a battery operated fan which also has a radio and light, but I know the fan & lights can drain the battery so I decide to use it for the radio only. 

  • Around approx 12 noon rain and strong winds beat the house, but based on the news Irene was headed to Abaco.  Finally, I can exhale.  I tried to open the door to get some air, but strong winds bang the door in my face faster than I could open it.  That meant stay inside! I was tired of waiting, but news on the radio reported trees and power lines down.  It still wasn't safe to go out.
Although I have a gas stove, the gas was turned off in wake of the hurricane.  I ate the remaining 2 slices of cold pizza for lunch.  I was happy I remembered to put small bottles of water in the freezer, I took out one, allowed it to thaw in the sink and drunk it down hungrily.  I wasn't too sure how long the electricity was going to be off so I had to be careful not to keep opening my refrigerator or freezer.

For dinner I made a bologna & cheese sandwich; when the wind died down I ran out and turned on the gas so I could make hot tea.  I realized no matter how prepared you are for a hurricane, you're never really prepared for it.   Anything, the unpredictable can happen.  I was constantly asking myself what if the roof blows off, what if there's flooding, what if....?  I then thought about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Japan.  The Bahamas is only about 8' - 10' above sea level.

Around 6pm it was over, yes we still had the winds and rain but Irene was attacking Abaco.  I survived Hurricane Irene, and I was scared during the whole ordeal and needed sleep.  My electricity didn't come back on until around 12 midnight.

Thankfully there was no structural damage to my  house neither was there any damage to my outside wall that the contractors had just repaired.  I'm happy I delayed the painter coming to paint until next week.

If you believe in prayers, pray for those in the path of Irene, Nassau was lucky.

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