Bahamas: Riding Out Hurricane Irene

As Hurricane Irene, the first of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, continues to move through the Bahamas, bloggers have been sharing their experiences.

Moments before the hurricane reached the islands – and uncertain of how much damage she could potentially do – Weblog Bahamas advised:

We've posted a couple blogs to show up on Thursday and Friday as we're not sure if we'll have electricity or Internet service.

The post ended on a hopeful note, urging Bahamians to “be safe”:

Here's hoping Irene goes easy on the rest of us. We know there will be damage to property, but hope there is no loss of life.

As it turned out, Irene did do some damage: Rick Lowe posted this update yesterday, (Wednesday, August 24) “before the electricity went off permanently”:

As we sit in Nassau, New Providence in little more than rain and a nice breeze at 8:20pm, our fellow Bahamians and residents in the Southern islands are catching quite a blow.

It will be at least a day or two before a complete picture of the damage starts to unfold as the city will be under severe weather.

We also hope the Northern islands come through okay, but this looks like wishful thinking at this point.

If Nassau can come through relatively unscathed that will be the best case scenario for the country as supplies can be rushed out to the other islands from here.

Blogworld did a fantastic job of collating photos, video footage and tweets of the hurricane in action, along with posting helpful information:

Conditions are deteriorating over Nassau. Widespread tree and roof damage has been reported across the Bahamas. Power outages are also widespread across the islands – from the southeast to the northwest islands.

The netizens profiled in Blogworld's post reported very strong winds, extensive damage to property, felled trees and downed power lines. Several roofs were blown off and there were reports of flooding in certain areas. Towards the end of her post, Nicolette Bethel voiced her frustration over the inadequate information being given to the public – at least from the state-owned media:

Not much to report from Nassau — some wind, a little tiny bit of rain, and frogs.

News coverage from national TV station disgraceful. Limited to the regular news at 7 PM, some specially focussed regular programmes during primetime and reruns from past hurricanes; no ongoing commentary on TV at all. Radio is better. Not sure what the problem is but am certain the economy will be blamed. But with all this foreign investment going on how is it we don’t have some $$ to invest in information for the Bahamian citizens throughout the archipelago? Why should we depend on private news sources, especially as we pay taxes to keep the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas afloat — and because they always seem to have news and cameras enough to cover the politicians when they speak?

Just sayin’.

Womanish Words echoed her sentiments, and suggested that social media should fill the void:

The house is shuttered, the electricity is off and the generator running, the first of the rain is coming down and yes, those are definitely wind gusts. I don't like it one bit.

I don't know how the other islands have fared, as predicted the local news coverage is abysmal and the international coverage non-existant. [sic] Hey world, we exist and we matter! What is needed is for the people of the Bahamas to get on the web! We ARE the media these days, we need to be reporting on blogs and Facebook from every island, telling our own stories! There is such silence in this place.

Twitter, under the hashtags #Hurricane #Irene #Bahamas, offered a lot of information and timely updates, but bloggers also posted entries today – from as early as 6:00 am up until just after 10:00 am:

It is six am and I am waking up after a good sleep, feeling grateful and guilty. The wind is heavy, gusting about 80 mph. Maybe more. The electricity has just this minute gone off. David tells me that the storm is veering away from New Providence, but that may just be his way of “being positive.” I still feel like the worst is to come… the wind is picking up as I write.

I know many, many others are dealing with that and worse right now. I wish I could see outside. Yikes, there's a big, howling gust, some falling debris. The storm is just upon us now. We will feel the heaviest winds in the next couple of hours.

Seven Twenty Four AM, Holding On in New Providence: Yikes, that was a hundred mph gust, debris is flying, stuff hitting the roof, rain sheeting down. Through a sliver in the shutter I can see my big trees riding the wind. Its nasty out there. I'm feeling a little tense.

Hurricane Irene Update – Nassau Aug 25, 2011 10:15am: Well it seems like Nassau and the island of New Providence has come through reasonably well. All things considered we're darn lucky.

The Southern Islands must have a taken a severe beating but at least there are no reports of loss of life as yet.

Hopefully our communities will band together to help each other pull through this.

Friends in Abaco say they expect the eye to pass directly over Marsh Harbour around 5:oomph today so they'll be feeling these eater [sic] effects until the early hours of tomorrow morning it appears.

Our archipelago is certainly getting the worst this one has to offer.

It is 10.23 am and just as I am about to write that I think the worst is over another huge gust goes through. But yes, Irene is moving away from us, there are actual lulls in the wind now. Some small trees appear to be down, but we are all intact. New Providence was spared again. We made it through.

Global Voices will continue to monitor the situation; the storm is currently passing over the northern islands of the Bahamas.


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