Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here he is......

Hurricane Dean. Looking likely to hit Dominica and/or Guadeloupe or Martinique...tomorrow. Still sunny in Bequia but the wind is freshening and there is a sinister haze in the air.

7pm Thursday: UPDATE

A dark black cloud crept over the hills, the wind picked up from the deadly tense stillness and the rain began; the thunder and the lightening.

Dean has been upgraded to a Cat 2 hurricane. Only tropical storm conditions are expected here. He is expected to hit Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe or St Lucia. Still, the prime minister has addressed the nation, said the conditions could be life threatening; winds, rain, flooding, landslides, sea surges, suddenly it seems a bit scary. The excitement has turned to nervousness. The neighbours have hammered corrugated iron sheets over their windows. The dogs have been fighting and the roosters squealing and the cat has just dashed in, soaked.

Midday Friday

Well we got off pretty lightly. That initial storm last night was almost the worst. After that it was calm again and remained so until I went to bed at 2am. I heard pounding rain through the night, but not for long, an hour or so.

I awoke this morning to an overcast, pleasantly fresh Bequia. The wind is streaming in from the SW, the opposite direction to the prevailing Trade Winds. The boats in the harbour are facing the wrong way and waves are breaking on the usually calm shore. The bay is full of ferries from Martinique and St Lucia taking cover. Several have tried to leave this morning but beat a hasty retreat once they left the protection of the harbour and quickly came back.

The eye of the storm grazed the southern tip of Martinique. So luckily no-one was directly hit. However wind and rain has been raging in Martinique, Dominica and St Lucia. Buildings have lost roofs and landslides are expected.

Dean is set to intensify, however, and become a very dangerous hurricane. The heat of the Caribbean waters will fuel it up and it may reach category 4 or even 5. We have got off lightly but it is looking bad for others out there.

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