As Hurricane Irma approached the island went thru all the normal stages.
-First we were informed about a Hurricane that may cross our path. August 31, 2017
We start to pack merchandise away. Secure boats we aren’t using at the moment.
-They we hear the storm is getting stronger, but it might turn away from us. September 1, 2017
Those that are more diligent are starting to get serious. Taking away all valuables and leaving only the bare minimum you need to operate/live for the next few days.
-Hurricane Irma gets upgraded to a Cat 4 and if it doesn’t turn we will be in direct hit. Septmeber 2, 2017
If you don’t have many belongings or a business on the island now is the time to fly out. If you do you pack in sincencerity. Move furiniture up off the floor and possibly seek out a safer place to ride out the storm.
-Now recorded as the worst Hurricane to ever hit the Atlantic. Septmeber 4, 2017
Board the windows, lower the shutters pack in sandbags that you can find, get all the food and water left in the shops, charge your electronics, and crank the AC while you still can.
I was very lucky and had planned my vacation off the island a month ago and booked the ticket to leave on September 2nd. I stuck to my plan and came home to Missouri before I set off for Bali. Now on September 6th I am glued to my phone sending messages and calls to those closest to me who couldn’t leave the island before the storm. As I get updates from the SXM community that is off island everyone asks the same questions – ‘Have you heard from anyone?’ ‘Did they evacuate Simpson Bay’ ‘Did you see the photos of the Airport’ ‘Is the dive shop still standing?’ Cell service has been patchy and internet even worse. My dive shop family was in a safe building so I have faith that they are OK, but not hearing from them is very difficult. I saw the following post from a girl desperately trying to get in touch with her mother which moved me to tears:
“Is anyone near Saphire Hotel?? Last heard my mom screaming and she was under bed in Saphire. She said the ceiling and walls were coming apart. Phone just rang out during the eye of the storm. Any updates or contact nearby would be much appreciated.”
There is no question that this storm will devastate the islands that were in its path. While I am grateful that my dog and I are safe and far away. It is very hard to not be able to do anything to help anyone. I will be posting more photos and and information as I receive it, but I have already started a GoFundMe page for those who have lost their homes and belongings in the storm. Please share this so our little island doesn’t get overlooked in the relief and recovery from the Natural Disaster: