Monday, September 12, 2011

Tropical Storm Maria misses Antigua despite forecasts.

In all my years I have never seen Antigua and Barbuda prepare like they did for this tropical storm. Tropical Storm Maria was forecast to come over the top of Antigua on Friday night and Saturday morning but the storm which had not been behaving as forecast from the start, veered north and didn't give us much of anything. On Friday which was a lovely sunny day, the schools, banks and many other businesses closed early. JD and I decided that we better go and firm up the boats in the afternoon and spent a few hours putting out extra anchors and extra lines. We prepared for a Cat 1 hurricane even though we knew that we would probably not even see 50 mph squalls. Nothing happened on Friday night and again on Saturday it was a lovely day for the most part. On Saturday night when the storm was well north of Barbuda we saw quite a bit of lightning. Then late in the night the winds switched to the south and we started getting some squalls. According to the facebook group "Antigua Weather" we received a few gust around the island in the 35 mph range and quite a bit of rain. Sunday it rained on and off the entire day which was perfect for those of us who love to chill on Sundays.

Why did Antigua prep so much for this storm and almost miss hearing about the last one? Well the answer is simple and should be a lesson to the authorities. This storm turned into a Depression and was given a forecast track by the National Hurricane Center quite far east of the Caribbean. This gave the weather people and the media time to speak about it for days and days before it "arrived". It was never forecast to become a hurricane anywhere near us and yet you would have imagined a category 5 was bearing down on us. People were scrambling to take their boats out of the water and board of their homes. I even heard nails being driven in the dark on Friday night. All in all I guess it was good for people to go through a drill. We even found some areas that we need to work on with our boats, but I just hope people and the media can be as energized when the storm goes from a tropical wave to a hurricane just off shore. Let's hope we don't see one of them.