As we all know the Atlantic Hurricane Season lasts from June through November. As soon as June appears we, in this part of the world, start making preparations for these acts of nature.
Even though, we go about doing and enjoying the summer things as normal, we always keep that hurricane starter pack close by.
Last year, 2019, we had Humberto a Cat 2 hurricane, which downed trees, damaged a few roofs and caused power outages.
This year, we just experienced Paulette which supposed to be a Cat 2 as well. The difference between Humberto and Paula was that whilst the former made its entrance very powerfully and exited not too long after, Madame Paulette lingered around for an extended period.
According to the National Hurricane Centre, the eye of the hurricane was supposed to pass over Bermuda on Monday September the 14 at 6 am.
On the Saturday before, we started seeing storm surges on the south shores which increased in intensity on Sunday. All residents were ordered off the road by 7 pm. The airport closed at 6pm.
“Paulette brought a wind gust of 117 mph to Bermuda and an island-wide power outage when it passed directly overhead Sunday night into early Monday, Sept. 13-14.”
“Hurricane Paulette became the first hurricane to make landfall in Bermuda since Gonzalo in 2014 and only the seventh ever recorded to make landfall on the island at hurricane strength”
My friend and former colleague Ishrat summed up her experience with Paulette so poetically:
“Hurricane Paulette came along last night unleashing an onslaught of fury where she screamed and pushed the trees and oceans around for about 14 hours.
In the eye of her storm, where she sat right on top of Bermuda at around 6am, everything went peaceful and silent except the very loud tree frogs who I’m sure were protesting this sudden extreme tyranny to their home, while Paulette sulked and caught her breath for two hours only to return to her reign of pushing the houses around and knocking over trees. She came back with twice the vengeance and intensity.
At about 8am she even visited my yard to ungraciously knock down an entire wall and gate in one fatal swoop of her hand. She could have just asked, I would have let her in, I was totally ready to have a chat with this wild lady anyway.However, I was grateful that’s all she had to say to me.
Having been through a few hurricanes, I never fail to be in awe of the intensity of Mother Nature- starting with the massive waves before the hurricanes come, to dark grey skies and soapy pale blue water,the howling wind and flying rain, to the complete calm after the storm.
Quite possibly the only place in the world, where these strong Bermuda stone homes and lovely people have created a place to band together, prep and joke and drink , hurricane party or chill, hang and repair the next day.
On my end, this lack of electricity means I’m fanning myself with a bamboo fan by my pillow fort and listening to those tree frogs who are still out partying. Hope everyone made it through okay! @ Hamilton, Bermuda”
The walls of the Bermuda houses are designed to restrict damage from hurricanes and are required by law to be able to withstand wind speeds of over 100 mph (160 km/h).
For me personally, I obeyed the government’s orders and ensured that I was home at the stipulated time, that is 7 pm. I secured the kitchen shutters and I cracked two sets of windows and the front door to allow the wind to pass through. I had earlier removed the cushions from the patio furniture. The winds were strong and unrelentingly during the night. I did not sleep throughout the entire night. The power went around 3 am and returned around midnight the following day. I could have lived with that as I had adequately prepared hurricane meals etc.
As I write we are experiencing the tail end of hurricane Teddy and over the coming weeks we shall all be excitedly exchanging tales of how we fared through Paulette and Teddy.
Have you ever experienced a hurricane?