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Isaias brings back memories of Dorian for Grand Bahamians

Eleven months ago, Withlean Burrows, 31, and her family were forced to evacuate their house as Hurricane Dorian ravaged Grand Bahama.

The horror of that race for survival was renewed when Hurricane Isaias lashed the island over the weekend.

“It was a very scary and tense moment,” Burrows, who lives near Taino Beach, told The Nassau Guardian.

“The traumatic events from Dorian taught me a lot. But, we had to remain focused and plan everything from home preparedness to having food and water and having all our documents in place in case we had to leave.”

When asked how Isaias was scary for her, Burrows replied, “Scary in the sense that 11 months removed from Dorian, we’re still rebuilding our lives and place and here it is having the pandemic in Grand Bahama, its nerve wrecking.”

She continued, “Well, after the storm had passed and the rain had stopped, I, along with my husband, went to check out our neighbor’s place downstairs and saw that the water level was rising.

“Fortunately, it only came to the doorstep but not inside. We took a chance and walked a bit in the road, despite us knowing the risks. We are only two minutes from Taino Beach, so that, in itself, lends its way to possible water surge and there are a few canals nearby, but luckily the water didn’t rise anymore.

“Seeing it rise was scary. During Hurricane Dorian, we had to run along with my family to higher and safer ground, so in the back of my mind all I was saying was, ‘Here we go again.’”

Hurricane Isaias, a Category 1 storm with winds reaching up to 85 miles per hour, was the first storm of this hurricane season to hit The Bahamas.

It caused flooding on some islands, including Long Island and Grand Bahama but throughout the majority of The Bahamas, residents reported minimal damage.

Isaias made its way across West Grand Bahama early August 2 — exactly 11 months after Dorian devastated the island, displacing scores of Grand Bahamians.

Dorian, which was the strongest to hit The Bahamas, left many Grand Bahamians with anxiety about the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Although Polernne Alonzo, 27, who lives near the Freeport Harbour, didn’t think Isaias was “as bad” as Dorian, she noted that the storm’s approach made her anxious.

“Because of the horrific outcome from Dorian, it created fear of what Isaias could possibly bring,” she said.

“To me, I’d say that the effects from the storm lasted way over 24 hours, which I didn’t expect because I know to have rain for that long would create flooding for some areas in Freeport. Nonetheless, I am thankful that Isaias was not as bad as we all expected it would have been.

“There weren’t any damages done to our home or property. Just a few leaves off of the trees. I would say to all residents of Grand Bahama, even though this storm has been gentle to us in strength, we should still take the likelihood of any future storms seriously.

“Isaias, even though it was said to be a tropical storm, the wind gusts and rain was still great enough to flood out areas. In my opinion, it seems that land is still very much saturated from the passage of Hurricane Dorian. All in all, we fared well.”

Some residents of New Providence and other islands took to social media to joke about how Isaias was not as serious as officials painted.

Tim Aylen, 50, a resident of Lucaya, who was forced to abandon his home and wade through chest-high water with his wife and children during Dorian, expressed frustration with residents of other islands dismissing Isaias’ intensity.

 “I get annoyed a little bit sometimes when I hear people say, ‘It’s nothing. You’ll be fine,’ because we know that in some cases, you’re not going to be fine,” Aylen said.

“People automatically say, ‘Well, don’t worry about it. It’s just going to be a tropical storm. There’s nothing to worry about.’

“I suppose that’s troubling for someone who’s been through something as intense as Dorian but you just try and block it out.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Loveitt, 64, a resident of Pine Bay, raised concern with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) issuing an all clear for The Bahamas at 9 a.m. on Sunday, while Grand Bahama was still experiencing effects of the storm.

“It was confusing to get an all clear like that,” he said.

“But, we have a WhatsApp group, which [East Grand Bahama MP] Peter Turnquest is a part of and he corrected it. Within a few minutes, it was corrected to say to just sit tight. To be a bit honest, common sense should prevail in those instances. It wasn’t OK to go out even though the all clear had been given.

“It wouldn’t have been sensible to go out.”

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