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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bermuda takes a One-two Punch, and survives!

The only way to understand what one of these is like, is to experience it for yourself!

The sense of guilt is great when you know that your family, friends and countrymen are experiencing hell in a very personal way, and you, or in this case, I was experiencing a beautiful, warm 30 degree Valencia day. My home country, Bermuda has had one hellish week. First, there was Tropical Storm Fay that came to visit. Normally, that would not be cause for concern, except that Bermuda hasn't had to deal with a hurricane for such a long time that our flora and fauna had the chance to grow thick, lush  and green. So, the winds of Fay, such as they were did a lot of damage to the environment.

Fay turned out to be what boxers call the setup for the knock out punch, because the very next weekend, October 17/18, a real big hurricane, the worst in Bermuda's history came whistling in like a right-hander from Mohammed Ali. No-one could say how Bermuda would likely weather this storm. There were no precedents. The advice was stay indoors, keep your head low and stay put. Perhaps good advice would have also been to cover your head with a pillow. This was not so much to protect your head from falling objects as to shut out the sound. Watching from Spain through web cameras we could, and did turn off the sound, but no-one in Bermuda could do that.

The terror of a hurricane is the unrelenting high pitched sound that I found could drive me insane. I moved from Bermuda in 1999 for the purpose of new challenges. I wasn't thinking that I would not have to hear another hurricane, but as time has passed that aspect of my life has settled down, although I'm not free of that kind of stress. Here in Spain we do fire and floods, so that is not much of an ideal option.

I don't have all the stastics as yet, but a category Four hurricane means sustained winds well over 200 kms per hour. How much more is a matter for conjecture as many wind measurement meters were simply blown away. The height of the hurricane came at night when the tide was also high, so the storm surge must have been awful, although no-one would have seen it. In fact, no-one saw anything although the damage was extensive.

Bermuda homes are very sturdily built with hurricanes in mind, but this one, which is probably the pre-cursor of what's to come, was unlike anything that had been seen before.

When it was over my family sent me an all-clear message. They had all survived and not one person was killed during the storm, although some little people chose that period to enter into the world. They must have thought, this is one noisy place. It seems that everybody took the advice to hunker down, even boat owners who tend to go see how the boat is doing. That choice always has to be made. Stay at home with the family, or leave them to their own fate and go look after the boat; as though there was really something a person could do.

It is said that come November, it's time to remember. Time to remember the hurricane season. The island was almost there when it got hit, twice in one week. Now we have some kind of idea of what the good folk of Western Somerset, in England went through when they coped with conveyor belt storms over many weeks.

Mother Nature can pack a mean punch when she wants to. Duck!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael