Well, Tomas turned out to be a non-event for Jamaica. We experienced some pleasant yet short-lived wind where I live, and a sprinkling of rain, not enough to water the garden. The storm has left Jamaica, leaving in its wake a population of angry citizens who are complaining about losing days of work, having their lives disrupted, and spending money that they don’t have on supplies that they never needed. Some folks on Facebook are suggesting (perhaps jokingly) that all this hype was a conspiracy between the government, the supermarkets, and the Meteorological Office. Deep down, we know that that isn’t a plausible explanation, though.
After all these preparations, I’m left with a pantry full of canned foods, extra bags of dog food, and several gallons of bottled water. I’m also lamenting the loss of productivity for two days as I spent my time chasing around Kingston gathering supplies, and obsessing over the news and computer models for this storm.
The food and water will get used…eventually, but I will never regain my lost productivity.
Tomas has turned into a hurricane, and I pray that the folks in Haiti and north of us will be as lucky as we were.
It feels like Christmas around here. Temperatures have cooled off, and preparations are completed: there’s food in the house water stored, ice made, and everything’s in place for our illustrious guest. But where’s Tomas?
Jamaica’s Meteorological Office informed us that storm conditions would manifest itself from yesterday evening. Consequently, evening classes that Edna Manley College, where I lecture in music, were suspended, and classes for the rest of the College were cancelled today and tomorrow. But there’s no sign of Tomas.
It’s 10:22 pm as I write, and I hear gusts of wind outside, but nothing to be alarmed at. There is no rain, and no sign of clouds. Earlier today I drove along the coast, ostensibly to take pictures of the storm surge and anything storm-related of interest. I got nothing impressive. The seas were a bit choppy, but nothing spectacular.
This afternoon Tomas was reported to be 91 miles off the coast of Morant Point, Jamaica. Perhaps we’ve been spared. Perhaps there’s still time….
Image via Wikipedia
It’s knocking on our front doors, folks. A uniform gray blankets my area, while stillness has settled in. The dogs don’t seem to be the least bit concerned, probably because they already know they’ll be safe.
I wonder how the Arawaks experienced approaching hurricanes. Surely hurricanes existed during the 14th and 15th centuries when Jamaica’s earliest settlers lived here. I wonder what kind of warning system they had. Generations of experience without the help of computers must have taught them to recognize the signs from observing the atmosphere and feeling the changes in their bodies. We have certainly lost that ability, because we rely on technology.
Back to the present…As of 5:00am Office of Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Management (ODPEM) ordered all schools in the Eastern part of the island closed–St. Mary, St. Thomas, Kingston and St. Andrew. The storm appears to be moving closer to Jamaica, however, and as of 8:30am, the authorities have extended school closures to St. Catherine.
We can expect winds of 50 mph with higher gusts, and the winds extend out 115 miles from the center. We’re definitely going to experience rain and wind, but it seems that St. Thomas/Portland end of the island will experience the brunt of Toma’s fury.
I will go out later today and take pictures and post on this site. Stay tuned for more updates (as long as electricity and internet connectivity remains.