Union Island Hurricane Beryl Survivor Describes 40-ft Container ‘Flying Like It Had Wings’.

Photo: Courtesy of TripAdvisor. St. Vincent on a calm day. The island group of St. Vincent and the Grenadines sustaines substantial damage from Hurricane Beryl.
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Bermuda’s The Royal Gazette has reported on how a Union Island native living in Bermuda recalled the terrifying moment that members of her family escaped with their lives after Hurricane Beryl blew down their home.

Carolyn James told the Bermuda newspaper that she spoke by phone with her brother on Tuesday, one day after the storm struck the small island of the multi-island state of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Her brother, Fitzgerald Hutchinson, described battening down with his wife, Monique, and eight-year-old twins during the deadly storm which has devastated parts of the Caribbean.

 

Beryl, an unprecedentedly powerful storm for the Atlantic in June, has wreaked havoc, killing at least seven people in the southeastern Caribbean.

Ms James told Bermuda’s The Royal Gazette: “He was in the house when the hurricane took it apart — it was very, very scary. He had two of his kids there with him at the time who are eight years old. They were not injured.

“It is a two-level house and they were upstairs, but once the roof started going off, they went down. However, the pressure was so immense, the windows were cracking and bucking, and the front door blew.

“They saw animals flying, a 40ft container flying like it had wings across the street where there were other houses, they saw houses being demolished.

“There was water everywhere, the kids were terrified but they remained safe and lived to tell the tale.”

Ms James said the small island, which has a population of approximately 3,000, including six immediate family members, had been mostly destroyed.

She said the power was out and communications towers down, with one hotspot on the island where everyone was flocking to contact loved ones.

She added: “It is just, wow … like a bomb exploded.

“I was born and grew up there; I am quite emotional. The thing is, the residents are in good spirits and are helping each other out.

“It’s the first hurricane there since 1955. They had no frame of reference. You sometimes hear the elders talk about Hurricane Janet.”

Ms James is planning to travel to the island on Monday and is trying to organise getting essential items shipped there.

These would include solar chargers, wet wipes, rope, tarpaulin, tents, mattresses, charcoal grills and generators.

Roslyn Bascombe-Adams, a physician working in Bermuda  returned recently from a trip to St Vincent.

While she does not have any family members who have been badly affected on the mainland of St Vincent, she does know people who were caught up in the storm.

She said: “The islands in the southern Grenadines are the ones that are most severely affected. While I don’t have any immediate family, I know of several people who are affected or have family who were affected.

“There have been some injuries, mostly from flying debris, and there have been some hurricane-related deaths, but no one I know personally.

“We have been following it from the time the islands were put on alert. I just returned from there a week before the hurricane hit.

“Last Sunday, we were glued to the system watching the tracking. The forecast had the storm going more on to the mainland but as time went along it tracked further south and as a consequence it affected the southern Grenadines, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”

The storm has claimed the lives of three people in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, three in Venezuela and one in Jamaica.

The storm has hit Jamaica, Venezuela, Grenada and other Caribbean Islands.

As a Category 4 storm, Beryl swept along Jamaica’s southern coast on Wednesday night, lashing it with heavy rain for 12 hours and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes without power.

Andrew Holness, the Prime Minister, told reporters that close to 500 Jamaicans were in shelters by Wednesday afternoon.

Beryl, which weakened to a Category 3 storm last night, was headed for Mexico after the Cayman Islands.

The National Hurricane Centre was tracking the storm across the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

The NHC predicted “strong winds, dangerous storm surge and damaging waves” on the coast of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico by early today.

Sources: Bermuda Royal Gazette.
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