Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Close Call......again!

OK, this is getting scary, not even a month has passed since hurricane DEAN came calling to Curaçao's doorstep, and now FELIX. As I said, the storms are getting closer and closer and I don't I like it. This time it was a real close call and even though Aruba got the worst of the it all, Curacao got its share of rain and wind.

During the years I lived in Curaçao, (1982 to 2003) I remember two storms that actually made a small threat to the island. First it was Tropical Storm JOAN in 1988. The amount of rain that we had was the most I had ever seen. We even had a small waterfall formed on the highest elevation: Christoffelberg. This was unique because there are NO rivers on the island. Still, we all made our pilgrimage to the site and were dutifully impressed. The island was green and lush (another unique occurrence in this dry country) for several months. Of course we had roofs blown away, beaches ruined by the surge and flooding in different parts of the city. The Queen Emma Bridge, that spans the entrance of St. Anna Bay, was damaged and it took a while for the pontoons to be repaired. Now, if there is anything coming remotely close, the bridge is moved further into the secluded bay.

In 1999, hurricane LENNY, not a major storm but a strange one came calling. It had started in the Western Caribbean and moved Eastward..... first to do that since someone decided to keep track of the storms. That time we had rain and winds, and the surge really did a number on the beaches. It took months to replenish the sand, years to get them back to normal. I remember there was a regatta scheduled for that weekend and had to be canceled. After that it rained almost everyday until March! There was water everywhere and because there is no good drainage on the island, flooding was a part of our lives all those months. I thought I was going to go crazy.

Then there was calm. For years, every storm just went somewhere else. That was fine with me and I didn't think of it at all. Hadn't I been told that the island was outside the hurricane belt? and wasn't that true? only two storms in 17 years and no major damage. There were other storms, not necessarily ones with names, that passed through. After all, this is the Tropics, but nothing to alarm the population or make anyone be on the alert. Suddenly, that has changed. Since I moved away there has been IVAN, DEAN and now FELIX. Whoever is in charge, STOP IT!!

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