All this thanks to what was then known as Tropical Storm Matthew, and is now the category 3/4 hurricane threatening causing serious damage and loss of life in Haiti, stranding visitors all over the Caribbean and Bahamas, and battening down the south east coast of the USA.I was extremely disappointed that my mother’s trip was cancelled but we quickly rescheduled her trip for about 2 weeks later and she even saved money on her flights! Most of all I was happy that we were safe and sound in what was a pretty brief storm, and the cats handled it well. We were able to stock up with supplies before the storm hit, just in case it got worse than expected, but the next morning it had moved on, and we watched it grow, heading west then north causing more fear, leaving behind more damage.
This isn’t the first time my mother has had a flight to Dominica cancelled. Actually Rich and I have had a flight here cancelled as well, but for completely different reasons, and a story for another time. My mum and I were supposed to make a trip down to the island to see some properties Rich and I had been looking at online, since Rich couldn’t get out of work for some reason so it was going to be a girls trip where I was going to try and get her blessing to move out of the country to this tiny island. I don’t quite remember the details other than being at work in Las Vegas and getting at text from my mum asking if I had heard about a tropical storm, something about it heading toward Dominica. I brushed it off saying it’s the caribbean, and how bad could a tropical storm be if its not a hurricane? I underestimated Tropical Storm Erika which poured down over a foot of rain onto the tiny mountainous island caused the most loss of life since Hurricane David in 1979, and caused such severe infrastructural damage the island was separated some stranded in their villages / towns, where gas would run out, communication with the rest of the island and world was impossible and the main airport was flooded and turned to rubble.
After Erika we rescheduled our trip for December, this time with Rich and my father as well. On our way to the island Rich and I were delayed by a day due to mechanical problems on the one plane that flies to Dominica for that airline. We got put up in the airport hotel and a flight was created just for us first thing in the morning. So we know full well the reliability of the island airlines so lovingly dubbed ‘leave island any time’ which really translates to you are never leaving. We ended up having a wonderful trip and I think all of us were equally impressed with the quick recovery of this tiny island. Though there are definitely still remnants of the storm now, bridges that were supposed to be temporary that are still in heavy use, paved bypasses, new dirt tracks passing for roads, and of course the remains of mudslides, cracking and crumbling roads. There is a long way to go, but even last December just 4 months after this disaster you could get around the island, you could enjoy its natural wonders and in some places even forget that the island had just been ravaged.
Now here we are over a year since Erika, almost a year since my mother found the land that we now own. We’ve had lots of time to think about the potential risks of building in a hurricane zone, but the truth is, the whole world is susceptible to some kind of natural disaster or another. Whether it’s earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, hurricanes or some other wild act of nature it’s better to prepare and plan the best you can for the worst case scenario but know it’s just that, a worst case scenario, and there is wide buffer between paradise and hurricane.That being said, our thoughts and prayers are with the residents of Haiti and any other island or state impacted by this storm, and any natural disaster. I hope for their quick recovery and easy access to medical aid. Not every home owner has insurance, not all countries have quality healthcare and these are things most American’s take for granted. So be grateful for what you have, make sure you check in with the elderly, and anyone you know that lives alone that might be vulnerable during dangerous weather.
Stay Salty & Safe