As It Hap­pened: Trop­i­cal Storm Tomas

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On Sat­ur­day Octo­ber 30th, 2010 at approx­i­mately 2 am, Trop­i­cal Storm Tomas began severely affect­ing the island of Bar­ba­dos, with max­i­mum sus­tained winds of near 70 miles per hour. Although it affected Bar­ba­dos as a Trop­i­cal Storm and not a hur­ri­cane (it later devel­oped into a Cat­e­gory One hur­ri­cane after the cen­ter of the storm passed 20 miles south of Bar­ba­dos), the dam­age caused by the event was wide­spread. As we’re near­ing the halfway through the Hur­ri­cane Sea­son, we take a look back, as it happened.

Bar­ba­dos was hastily placed under a Trop­i­cal Storm Warn­ing on Fri­day Octo­ber 29th, with lit­tle to no notice, as lamented by mem­bers of the pub­lic. This advi­sory caused Bar­ba­di­ans to has­ten to super­mar­kets and gas sta­tions to make last minute prepa­ra­tions due to the short notice. Judy Thomas, Direc­tor of Depart­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment (DEM) noted “We didn’t have the advi­sories, the watches, the warn­ing. We had almost a straight trop­i­cal warn­ing.” At 10 p.m., the cen­ter of Trop­i­cal Storm Tomas was located near lat­i­tude 12.2 north, lon­gi­tude 58.4 west of the island. This resulted in the con­tin­ued dete­ri­o­ra­tion of the weather con­di­tions, and sub­se­quently caused a national shut down at 12: 30 am, by which all per­sons were to be safely tucked into their homes, or at the shel­ters across the island. The regional air­line LIAT, as well as Amer­i­can Air­lines can­celled flights into and out of the island. As con­di­tions wors­ened dur­ing the wee hours of Sat­ur­day morn­ing, the Trop­i­cal Storm warn­ing pre­vi­ously issued, was upgraded to a Hur­ri­cane Warning.

Trop­i­cal Storm Tomas caused wide­spread dam­age across the island. In addi­tion to the gusty winds, the storm car­ried more than 10 inches of rains and a strong surge that rose water lev­els to as much as 1 to 3 feet above nor­mal tide lev­els. Roofs were lost and power lines and trees had fallen. As a result, there was wide­spread power out­age, with at least 75 to 80% of all elec­tric­ity ser­vice dis­rupted, also result­ing in reduced water sup­plies in many areas. Some houses were also totally dis­man­tled by the hur­ri­cane and fallen trees made some roads impass­able. Reports also indi­cated that sev­eral cars had been crushed by fallen util­ity poles and trees. The parishes that were most affected by Tomas were St. John, St Andrew, St. Michael, St. Joseph and St. George. There was also agri­cul­tural dam­age, as the poul­try indus­try took a hit.

article-1326156-0BE49B39000005DC-490 634x3981As after­noon approached, con­di­tions started to improve. This led to a down­grade of the Hur­ri­cane Warn­ing to a Trop­i­cal Storm Warn­ing at 3pm, which was then dis­con­tin­ued around 9pm that same day. The response to the dis­as­ter was prompt, as the Bar­ba­dos Red Cross Soci­ety (BRCS) was able to assist gov­ern­ment with dam­age and assess­ments as well as road clear­ing, while a National Inter­ven­tion Team, was put on standby. Approx­i­mately 90 major roads were cleared within the first 24 hours after Tomas passed. The BRCS was able dis­trib­ute tar­pau­lins to house­holds with roof loss or dam­age, as a stop gap mea­sure until the roofs could be fixed. Addi­tion­ally com­mu­ni­ties with train­ing from the BRCS, were able to pro­vide assis­tance as well. The dam­age cause by Tomas was esti­mated to be in the vicin­ity of 8.5 mil­lion US dol­lars. As a result of this dam­age, a Pre­lim­i­nary Emer­gency Appeal was issued on Novem­ber 3rd 2010 for 611, 470 Swiss francs to sup­port the national soci­eties of Bar­ba­dos, Saint Lucia and Saint Vin­cent and the Grenadines to assist 1,550 fam­i­lies for 6 months.

On a day when Bar­ba­dos expe­ri­enced the most dam­age from a storm or hur­ri­cane in years, Bar­ba­di­ans were left, once again thank­ing God for another “great escape”. Despite the wide­spread dam­age to over 1500 homes, no casu­al­ties were reported across the island. There may be no cre­dence to the say­ing that “God is a Bajan”, but cer­tainly there is no dis­put­ing that the island of Bar­ba­dos is very blessed.

Video Report: https://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​k​s​v​4​e​k​5​l​q​V​o

© Photo 1&2 taken from Dai​ly​mail​.co​.uk
© Arti­cle of caribbe​an​dreams​magazine​.com

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