Caribbean: Bracing for Hurricane Dean

The Caribbean blogosphere is abuzz over the impending arrival of Hurricane Dean, the first official hurricane of the season:

Steve's Dominica reports:

“Dean will be passing over us around 6am on Friday. We'll start to feel the winds from midnight tonight…”

Steve manages to venture out, however and posts a photo of how the storm is shaping up, adding:

“You could see people were taking Hurricane Dean seriously, boarding up windows. Up at the top of the hill, the gusts of wind hinted at what is to come.”

As the storm moves closer, Living Dominica says:

“I know that I am going to have to sit through hours of howling hurricane winds tomorrow, and the thought brings tears to my eyes. I feel like a small child abandoned and unprotected at the thought of this storm.”

Cheese-on-Bread, blogging from Barbados, takes a more practical approach and posts some helpful hurricane preparation tips, urging everyone to “stay safe”:

“The weather has definitely changed from the sunny skies we had earlier today…”

Living in Barbados offers some useful information on the storm's projected path and estimated wind speed, as well as how Bajans are preparing for the possible hit:

“At home, all of our shutters are down and windows closed, movable objects are indoors, and we hope that neighbours have done something similar. The airport closes at 9pm tonight and should reopen at 9am tomorrow; flights by the US airlines had already been cancelled from earlier in the day. Lots of business closed in mid-afternoon and road works were suspended and warning signs removed, in case they became missiles in the expected high winds. Reports indicated that people were rushing to hardware and grocery stores to stock up on essential provisions. Category 1 shelters were advised to open.”

My Barbados Blog posts a comprehensive list of the varying storm watch levels in the different islands, while Notes from the Margin writes:

“Join me in saying a prayer tonight for our friends in St. Lucia, Martinique and Dominica who are really looking down the business end of this storm.”

As expected, the weather was fairly subdued on Barbados this morning, according to Pull! Push!. His most recent update says:

“It's just after 7:30 in the morning. The skies are still overcast, it's raining and strong breezes and sudden gusts of wind, are both putting in an appearance. I have heard that the ALL CLEAR has been given.”

Mighty Afroditee, who has lived through the havoc Hurricane Ivan wreaked on the Cayman Islands, blogs about the whims of Mother Nature and hard lessons learned:

“An air of expectation hangs over the island, as worry furrows the brows of those bent on preparation. Ivan (the “Rat Bastard”) has left his mark. Madame decided to humble me with the threat of Dean. She has dispatched another one of her Enforcers to remind me of her far reaching capabilities, especially since my kind have abused and neglected her in so many ways. She is now bent on vengeance.

Yet, as I track each breath of movement from this probable usurper…I know that I am not alone. Dean and his whereabouts dominate the topic of all conversation, as we all get ourselves into a state of preparedness. Supermarkets are packed; cars are moved to higher ground; information is being disseminated like wildfire; plywood and shutters are being off loaded and inspected at individual residences…and it all gives me a strange sense of detached pride for my island and its peoples. Ivan was a hard lesson learned but, we learned our lesson. No one wants to be caught off guard again.”

And Pwoje Espwa, blogging from Haiti, says:

“If Hurricane Dean keeps coming as predicted we will be in a heck of a lot of trouble. We are doing what we can to get ready. Saturday and Sunday look to be miserable days. Keep us in your prayers, please.”

Belize-y-Livin’ has a bit more time to prepare, but it does not do much to allay her fears:

“Dean is supposed to pick up force and hit here as a category 4 hurricane on Tuesday morning, which means there is plenty of time to change path, as it often does. Yet I am still nervous. Some people say this is going to be the worst hurricane documented in Belize while others claim it will change course. I'm not sure what to think.”

West Indies Cricket Blog wants Dean to go home, while both Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground have turned down requests from international media to be interviewed about how their fellow islanders have been preparing for Dean's arrival:

“Message For CNN’s Mark Garrison…

Mark, we’d love to give you a live on the air blogger’s broadcast from Barbados Free Press as you asked, but unfortunately that would be the end of my real job, my wife’s job and the bank would probably call the mortgage too. You see, Barbados Free Press is a blog dedicated to exposing corruption in our government and we have to remain anonymous or our families will be made to pay.”

Living in Barbados acknowledges the reasons for the two blogs declining CNN‘s request, saying:

“It will be interesting to see how the North America news develops its view of a ‘crisis’ on the island…Hurricane seasons comes around every year, but each time it's a different roller coaster ride.”


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