Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Hurricane? Not a hurricane, merely a ‘tropical storm’! Any difference? Not a lot really, just that nobody bothered to tell us this one was coming!
With the wonders of modern science we can of course track the satellite pictures of cloud formation and we could have been suspicious on Saturday afternoon when the merest fringes of what appeared to be a massive cloud formation hanging over the central Caribbean started to give us some extremely heavy squalls.
Perhaps we are not the most ardent followers of the Dominican media, but we definitely keep our ears close to the ground in the Boca Chica community and we never heard even a murmur about anything untoward on the way. On the contrary… the locals asked us, because of our satellite picture watch, and unassumingly we said, “Yes it looks like it could be quite wet for a while”.
Saturday night was just a taster. Deluge would have been the very appropriate word. It sounded like somebody pouring buckets of water on the roof, but constantly!
Sunday morning it was still raining heavily and in general looking very dismal indeed. We made the extremely rare decision to close Playa Vista, or rather not open Playa Vista, and unlike nearly every other occasion when that almost unthinkable possibility has been considered, this special Sunday did not get any better as time went on… it actually got worse… a lot worse. The sea rose, and the beach disappeared beneath the waves strangely just like when a hurricane passes by! (please see photos of Hurricane Dean’s effects Aug 19th entry)
Then Sunday night when we got what was so reminiscent of a hurricane that it obviously was more than a coincidence, we began to suspect that something was up. Firstly the electricity supply was cut -always a sure sign of serious difficulties here in Boca Chica- and then the water supply that actually had already beaten a hasty retreat some 24 hours before that, totally failed. Then followed a second night of deluge, but this time accompanied by extremely high winds all night long.
The next morning we had phone calls literally from all around the world, joining the increasing local questioning as to “what happened?” Due to there being no electricity, it was very difficult to verify anything except, thankfully that Playa Vista had escaped with very minimal damage even if some of the in-coming telephone calls talked of the felling of numerous large trees in the neighborhood and major evacuations of people in parts of the Dominican Republic.
Well, now here on Tuesday morning with electricity back in supply we are able to know that it wasn’t a hurricane just a ‘tropical storm called Noel’ that traveled at the paltry speed of 6mph thereby prolonging the agony leaving at least 20 dead and considerably more missing due to swollen rivers and flooding around the country.
Not a hurricane we reiterate, with the voice of the authorities very quietly echoing in the background… just a tropical storm!