Central and SE Bahamas residents brace for Isaias
Nearly five years after Hurricane Joaquin barreled through the central and southeast (SE) Bahamas as a Category 4 storm, residents on those islands are making final preparations for another potential hurricane to make landfall as early as this afternoon.
For some, a state of panic has set in, while others have made no attempt at battening up as they anticipate the storm won’t be as damaging.
After experiencing widespread damage, from which the island has still not rebound, residents on Long Island have battened up and secured their property, according to Clarence Town resident Vincent Lockhart.
“We’re putting up shutters and securing stuff in the house and getting our last-minute groceries,” Lockhart said yesterday.
“Everyone here seems to be taking it seriously. The island hasn’t quite rebounded from Joaquin and so some people are now panicking. People are on edge.”
Lockhart lives in the island’s capital with his wife, his mother and two children – one of whom has special needs.
“I can’t take it lightly, you know,” he said.
“I have to secure my home and ensure my family is safe. But, you know, Long Islanders are strong. We’re pretty resilient. We’ll get through this one just fine like we always do.”
On Crooked Island, which saw homes, churches, hotels and schools wiped out during Hurricane Joaquin, not much battening up has occurred, according to Michael Carroll.
“People are not really battening up their houses,” Carroll said.
“I guess most people are just thinking it’ll be probably just a water event, you know. As far as battening up, I haven’t seen anybody doing any preparation at that level and I don’t think they see the need for it, you know.”
Asked whether he has plans to batten up, Carroll said, “No, uh uh. I actually have hurricane windows. But from what meteorologists saying, this is going to be more rain than wind.”
Carroll, a businessman who owns a food store and gas station, said depending on the weather, he would determine when he will close his businesses.
“According to how things are, I will see whether I can open,” he said.
“I know one time I flew to Crooked Island on Bahamasair in a tropical storm. I mean it wasn’t a strong tropical storm but it was still considered a tropical storm. When I came home I met pieces of shingles from my roof on the ground. But I hope this storm doesn’t get any stronger.”
To the most southern end of The Bahamas, on Inagua, Flavioa Cox said residents on the island aren’t taking any chances and that most of the island shut down early yesterday so that residents were able to go home and prepare.
“We’re taking this very seriously,” he said.
“All of the shelters that the government designated, they have put in the emergency generators just in case the power goes out and the home owners, people are battening up and securing their properties from any potential flying debris. As far as the general food store, that’s already closed, giving all of the workers and those at Morton Salt time to prepare. Only really the mom and pop stores open to give last-minute shoppers the chance to get things.”
Cox said Inagua residents have seen images of damage being done by Isaias in other countries, which prompted them to take the storm a bit more seriously than they had anticipated.