Hurricane Irene is Bad News for The Bahamas
This morning, Hurricane became a Major Category Three Hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. An very large system, with hurricane force winds extending out 40 miles from the center, and tropical storm strength winds going out up to 205 miles from the center, she is forecast to strengthen even more. (You can follow daily tropical updates on my 2011 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Journal lens.) Yes, it’s true that Hurricane Irene is bad news for The Bahamas – real bad news!
That means Hurricane Irene is bad news for the Bahamas, since the forecast track takes her lengthwise through the entire island group from southeast to northwest, hitting virtually every one of the nations 3,077 islands, islets, and cays in the proces. For low-lying islands, it certainly doesn’t take a direct hit by the eyewall to cause a lot of damage, but that’s exactly what will happen with some of the beautiful islands of The Bahamas today and tomorrow.
While limited evacuations have already been ordered in the United States, there are no evacuation options in The Bahamas. All those folks can do is board up, hunker down, and / or head for a shelter. Living in paradise does have its price, I guess.
And yes, it is a little bit like paradise in the island nation off the coast of Florida. You can check it out here on Pictures of The Bahamas. Let’s hope it’s still that way after Irene is done there.
Unlike the rest of the islands, one small cay is being evacuated. CocoCay, in the Berry Islands of The Bahamas, is a private island belonging to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. There isn’t much there… no paved roads, no stop lights, no large sturdy public buildings. Just some housing for the staff that maintains the island and the equipment that is there for the enjoyment of the cruise passengers who visit. The cruise line is securing the cay, and evacuating their personel who normally live there. Those of us who have visited this little slice of paradise hope it doesn’t suffer too badly from Irene’s visit.
But, more importantly, our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and neighbors in The Bahamas today, as they deal this very negative aspect of tropical weather.