The Caribbean Hurricane Page
Updates from the Islands
The most recent updates are on another page.
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 10:47:50 -0400 From: Joanne Konst (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Puerto Rico (Hatillo) I spoke with my aunt in Hatillo and she told me all the damage there is property damage, mostly trees and damage to wodden houses. She has not heard of anyone injured. The trees in the plaza are pretty much gone, sad to say. They were so beautiful! She lost a couple of trees herself. During the storm, my aunt opened up a window to see what was happening, and she had to close it immediately. The winds were too strong and the rain was pounding. Inside the house, she says they could barely feel the storm, but they could hear the howling of the wind. She tells me the Camuy river overflowed its banks, but it is now receding. Arecibo is pretty much flooded. Seems like the small towns are very isolated. This was my secong call to the island and I was passing on information from my relatives in Caguas. If you have families scattered in several towns, you may end up telling them how the others fared! All that is left now is the cleanup, and it looks like it will be a major undertaking. Dios los bendiga.
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 10:20:40 -0400 From: Joan Saz (JSaz@atinc.com) Subject: Culebra Gert -- thanks for this service. It seems to be the only way to learn anything. I just sent this to Randi Waters: I only have 3rd- or 4th-hand information. Just spoke to someone in CA with family on Culebra, who heard from someone else who had radio contact. She tells me that there is a lot of damage on Culebra, but no one died, gracias a Dios. I just also spoke with someone at Vieques Air Link in San Juan. They didn't have any info about Culebra, but said that in Vieques a lot of trees are down and there are no utilities (which I guess we already knew). I'm thinking about trying to go down to Culebra tomorrow, if possible, as I have a house there. Please let me know if you hear more. Thanks, Joan
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 10:12:16 -0400 From: Migdalia Negron (email@example.com) Subject: Quebradillas I was able to speak to my mother-in-law on the evening of Sept 22. She says she got alot of rain and wind but everything seemed fine. They are also without water and electricity. We were also able to speak to my grandmother and aunt that live in Mayaguez, and they are struggling to get things cleaned up. My aunt was on her way yesterday to prepare meals for some elderly people she cooks for. I am still trying to get in touch with my stepdaughter in Yabucoa, where I heard there has been mudslides. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 08:46:57 -0400 From: Josephine Robles (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: San Juan,Puerto Rico I spoke with my cousin in San Juan at 6:30 a.m. today who told me she is well. She lives near the airport in Carolina. Their area sustained some damage but not nearly as bad as in the south and east. We have been unable to get communications on our family in Ponce. [...] We also have family in La Romana that we are desperately worried about. If anyone gets any information about La Romana or Ponce, please pass it on. Thanks, Josephine Robles (email@example.com)
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 07:54:57 -0400 From: Raul Maysonet (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Puerto Rico (Dorado, Toa Baja) Hello everybody, I am pleased to let you know that even though the hurricane cause a lot of damage in Dorado and Toa Baja there were no casualties as far as my family knows. A lot of the wooden houses had their roofs blown, lots of power lines and poles down. Toa Baja still under a lot of water so are certain parts of the barrios near Dorado. There still no light and water but people are pulling together and helping each other. The schools are being used as shelters for the people that lost their homes or had damage to their houses. Some of the main roads are open now. This is all I know for now. Hope that some of your fears were put to rest and thank God that as Puerto Ricans even though we don't agree on everything when it really comes down to pulling together we always do. Love Raul Maysonet
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 22:35:12 -0700 From: The Dempseys (email@example.com) Subject: News from Rincon Heard from my mom that Rincon has no power and water......area is devastated with down trees and shrubs......she lives up in the Puntas area and did get some water in her home that she was able to mop clean. Both her and my dad are fine and so is the rest of our family...please let us know what else is going on in Rincon.......the phone lines are down at this time........... Nancy from Alamo, California
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 00:28:30 -0400 From: DaVe (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: update in aguadilla puerto rico hi, i was able to reach my college roomate at his home today in aguadilla. he said all is well in his part. he has a generator and 500 gallons of water. The hurricane blew his satellite dish off his roof into his neighbors yard. he said it looks to be repairable. They have a lot of trees down in his arae, and everything looks very ominous since there are no leaves on the trees. he was out and about a little today, and he said there are many homes missing roofs. He has a place in mayaguez, and has been unable to get in contact with anyone from that area, and he belives his structure which was wooden is completly gone. All in all i'm thankful, it could have been worse for him.
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 20:50:48 -0700 From: Carmen Mari (email@example.com) Subject: re:Aguadilla & Cabo Rojo I spoke with my sister in Cabo Rojo, 1:30 a.m. PR time last night. (Only time I was able to get through). As everyone has stated it was very scary, damage to wooden structures, some windows blown out in cement structures and no light or water. They had a large water cistern on their house which was blown off, but that was the only damage they sustained, gracias a Dios. Cabo Rojo was hardest hit than my hometown, Aguadilla. My sister contacted them yesterday a.m. and they were all fine. Even wooden houses with zinc roofs and not very sturdy were luckily spared there. The pana tree did sustain some damage. Since that phone call it appears phone lines are now down in Aguadilla as no one had been able to reach my parents again. Hope everyone hears from their families soon! Take care, Maria firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 23:28:09 -0400 From: Jose Cruz (email@example.com) Subject: After the Hurricane From Isabela PR Gert, We walk away thanks God...We are ok. Around 95 % without electricity, 80% without water and 75% without phone service. Also long distance and within the Island service is very limited. But we are 100% positive that we will work this out... So far we start the clean-up procedure since yesterday morning and the communities are striving to get the Island back on track. Hopefully our infrastructure is a good one and we will see if we can work this out to get to the Guinness book. Casualties so far are only five up to what I have heard on the radio but since we are incommunicated maybe the number is higher, I hope is not. I hope this information gave all of you a picture about wish are the conditions more or less around the Island....I'm running on batteries and have to reply over a hundred emails with different request today. Bye, Jose Cruz
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 23:02:53 -0400 (EDT) From: JOHN P. KUTA (JPANDJP@webtv.net) Subject: Puerto Rico Hi everyone. I just talked with my friend in Bayaney Puerto Rico. He says that in the part of the island they are in there is a lot of trees down and there is no power or water but in the part they were in very little damage was done. He says there were 8 fatalities in the island. Phone service is limited to certain parts of the island. The mudslides we heard about on the news and weather channel were not as bad as they said, there were some but not that many. Many roads throughout the island have trees and debris on them but nothing major. My friend was in a concrete house and it survived very well. Thank you for this website it has helped tremondously with the worry and fear that all of us in the states have endured. I hope that this helps others that read this. Thanks.
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 19:49:28 PDT From: randi waters (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Culebra?! I know I am not the only one waiting for info on Culebra. I am writing to encourage anyone who might have ANY info at all about Culebra, to please write. I have had no contact with my many friends there. If anyone can help, it would be very appreciated.
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 19:12:40 -0400 From: Jorge L. Belendez (email@example.com) Subject: GOD BLESS YOU ALL FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS. OUR OWN PRAYERS OF GRATEFULNESS GO TO YOU. Dear Friends and Family: Again, forgive me for writing in English, but these E-Mails are passed on to many others and I do so that all of you can understand it. At the neighborhood level, today looks a lot more like an active recuperation day. The weather is also helping. The rain has totally stopped, the sun is out and it is a beautiful day here in San Juan. The only thing missing is the beautiful and dear shades of green of the trees. It looks more like a typical autumn day in another country. (Una "extrayna macion" like the beautiful and dear song "En Mi Viejo San Juan" by Noel Estrada says). That lack of green, for those of us who love our dear Puerto Rico as it is, green, warm, and beautiful, the spectacle is rather depressing. Very sad. The government seems to be doing all that it is capable of doing. But more of a coordinated, coherent CENTRAL STRATEGY seems to be lacking. The Governor had a Press Conference yesterday afternoon but, although he has traveled by helicopter to many towns and facilities, he did not reveal any specific information or at least a central strategy that would give an idea of what the government will do specificly. He mentioned that the estimates are that more than 60% of the agricultural crops have been destroyed, but did not mention how, if any, specific help was going to be proposed to restore the agricultural initiative. The crops are gone, but credits and incentives can help on the long term. He is after all only human, and the devastation in certain sectors of the economy is of incredible proportions. Nevertheless he is the one responsible for the leadership initiatives needed in this sad and trying times. And the Island is looking at him for that leadership. Lets pray he recovers and goes into the action mode. Lets all pray for him, because he needs it. The individual people, nevertheless, take the initiative and the cleaning, fixing, working hard and the activity shown today has been remarkable. Times like this really test the inner strength and the core reserve of a nation. And it shows. Here in my condominium, as a past president for several years, my neighbors sort of expect that I run our local "disaster plan". So I have been taking charge, naturally with the blessings of the actual Board of Directors. Left and right I have been offered help by everybody. Many have also verbally thanked me and my wife for our interest and our work. This may seem like an relatively insignificant gesture, but it is not. It shows two very important characteristics of an integraly developed mindset. FIRST it shows a willingness to help, take concrete action. It shown the desire to take charge of the situation and take charge of your destiny, in the manner and to the extent that one can, on your own hands. It shows people that are willing to do what it takes for the best, not of the individual, but for the good of the community. For me, that is VERY important for it shows that one can go beyond the "ME", focus on the "YOU" and makes possible "WE" . For me that is just great. Just great. SECOND, giving thanks, although not required, shows that they are aware that this is a community effort, shows a capacity to identify kindness. Also a very important trait for every human being. And I have asked MANY for specific help. And everybody has said "yes". And this is going on all over the Island. In overall I have no significant news to tell you. I have been asked, nevertheless, the news that some "tornadoes" developed during the hurricane. So I asked around and made some inquiries on that matter. And here is what I have been told^ The so called "tornadoes" that may or may not have happened in the hurricane are not, by any means, in the fashion of a typical tornado in the US. First they are not very common. Second, they form in the "eye" on the hurricane and last a very short time. They are low on intensity and resemble more a "tromba marina" (like a wind funnel) than a tornado. This is a very recently noticed weather condition. If at all, they probably has been happening for eternity when a hurricane strikes, but only recently has it been speculated that they may happen. And observed more by the results on some structures than by visual examination. For example, during hurricane Marilyn that hit St. Thomas a few years back, damaged was observed on some steel buildings that could only be caused by a type of "wind funnel" as some screws were "cut" in such a way that could only be explained by this type of wind activity. But what really interest all of you is, did this happened with hurricane Georges?? And nobody at this time knows the answer to that. The Weather Authorities have not had the time to make this type of determination. But in any case, even if they did happen, remember that they are not even close to a regular tornado like we see in the news. They are small, localized and of short duration. Tomorrow will be another day of cleaning up, of hard work, of assessing and planning. I have complete faith in the working spirit and enthusiasm of the people of Puerto Rico. By his own hard work and determination, Puerto Rico in the last 40 years has gone from a very poor country to what we have today. And no Georges is going to keep this nation down for long. One final, and to me, VERY IMPORTANT MATTER. This E-Mail goes to many. And those many pass them to others. And evidently others pass them on yet to others. A friend told me it was read in a local TV show in Orlando. How that happened I have no idea. So many, many of you have written me asking me specific questions or thanking me. I feel sad to not have the time to reply to everybody. But I'm sure you understand the reason I cant reply to all. It would take 24 hors a day to do so. I do try to reply to as many as I can. But please forgive me if you don't hear from me, ok?? God bless you all for all your prayers. Our own prayers of gratefulness go to you. !! PAZ !! Jorge L. Belendez Belendez@caribe.net
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 16:11:24 -0700 From: Ben Ortiz (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Update from family in Caparra P.R. Buenas Tardes desde San Francisco de California: I recently spoke with my family in the Caparra area and besides the lack of electricity and blocked roads things seem under some control. My father said he even heard of a Chinese restaurant in Bayamon that was open using an electricity generator and he was going to try to get there for food. The restaurant where my uncle works was also open, apparently. So, in some of the metropolitan areas, at least, things are trying to return to normal. We are all concerned however about our family in the countryside. None of my relatives (both on the island and off) have been able to contact my aunt in Patillas nor my grandfather in Barranquitas. These towns still are "incomunicados." And the "El Nuevo Dia" website has had no information about the interior of the island. The NOAA radio reported tornados in Barranquitas during the passage of the hurricane. Juncos is the closest town I have heard about so far (on this website). Has anyone heard anything about the SE corner (Arroyo/Patillas) or the center (Barranquitas/Orocovis)? At least we can guess that the people are safe despite all the damage. Thank you for this site and for all the communications. I am sure that boricuas on and off the island are appreciative of even the smallest pieces of information. Saludos B. Ortiz
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 18:26:29 -0400 From: Cindy (email@example.com) Subject: New from friends. My sincerest sympathies to all of you there in Puerto Rico. I was in Agauadilla for Hortense and I remember the weeks without power and water. I have spoken with friends in Aguadilla and Moca and the place is apparently a mess but tolerable. News from Mayaguez is far worse I am afraid to say. One friend drove from Mayaguez to Aguadilla seeking help. She hadn't eaten in two days. Her brothers house had been completely destroyed and there was a great deal of looting in the city. Aparently the water came all the way up to the town square. I would also like to express my condolences to the family of U.S. Customs Pilot Pedro Rodrigez. His plane crashed over Mona while he was evacuating it to Curacao. He leaves behind a beautiful wife and family and many many friends who will always remember him for his wonderful sense of humor and compasion. And as I end this I too have to get ready for Georges. Islamorada, Florida is now under mandatory evacuation. Wish us luck. Cindy Cruciger Cruciger@terranova.net www.tropicaltimes.com
[Wed, 13 Sep 1998 23:45EDT] - Just spoke to Rafael Buxeda Díaz in San Juan. He still does not have power so cannot fire up his computer to send a detailed report. He told me the following (and let me try to put everything correct): there are now 28,000 (!) people in shelters. There is very little news available about the situation in Ponce (the 2nd largest city in PR) and Mayaguez (3rd largest). The schools are planned to reopen on Monday (how exactly is unsure since many of them are used as shelter). The state governor is asking people who work for the government to report to work tomorrow. There are also little reports from the eastern islands Vieques and Culebra, although ferry service is restored on a limited basis. Practically everyone in PR is without power. 80% without water. The Governor promised San Juan that power will be restored tonight... About 1 hour ago power was restored at Centro Medico (PR largest complex of hospitals in San Juan). Good news is that San Juan is cleaned up already. There is a problem with the water supply. The hydroelectric plant at the Carraizo dam (which could have generated the power for water purification etc) is out of operation for the last 25 years. Water is now distributed in San Juan by tank trucks at major intersection. The timing is pretty bad (esp. if people have to report to work already): 10AM to 6PM. The Airport is open. Delta and American Airlines are flying a limited service. American Eagle is supposed to fly to the other islands again. There is still a problem with the phone-communications. If you cannot get through to your friends or family on PR, it might be a problem with the phone or that the person you are trying to reach is in one of the shelters. They are most probably OK since deaths are minimal. The biggest problem probably lies in the little towns in the mountains. They are basically unreachable by road due to land slides, fallen trees and washed out bridges. They are trying to open the roads again, but bridges cannot be rebuilt overnight of course. This means that supplies (like gasoline, building materials, etc.) cannot reach them, in addition to the fact that they don't have power anyway. In any case Rafael is doing OK, somewhat frustrated with the whole situation and he is running out of black and white cookies! Also, can you help him out this time? He is hoping that someone saved some 'neat' radar or satellite images of Georges while it was pounding on his home. Please e-mail him if you have some. When he gets on-line again he will answer you and coordinate the filetransfer. Don't send him pictures yet. His mailbox is probably already overloaded... -Gert
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 15:53:07 -0600 From: Brian & Susan Robertson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Vieques, Puerto Rico---Georges Trying to get info about Vieques--called Vieques Air Link at San Juan International and got through--they said they didn't think it was too bad--in radio contact with airport on Vieques--took some of their planes somewhere else but some were still on island and he said they are OK--since they lost all their planes in Hugo I assume that things may not be as bad--no one I know has been able to get through other than that--now don't everybody start flooding VAL with calls--I think they can fly.
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 15:37:57 -0500 From: "Boice, Vicki" (email@example.com) Subject: Vieques Has anyone heard anything recently about the conditions on Vieques? I last spoke with my sister and brother-in-law on Monday afternoon at 2:00PM right before the storm hit. Their electricity was already out at that time. I have been unsuccessful in all later attempts to phone them. Does anyone have any idea when phone service will be restored there? Do they have running water? Any news? I will let you know any information I receive as soon as I hear from my family. Thank you.
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 14:29:56 -0500 From: David Arvelo (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: About Valle Hermoso, Hormigueros, PR My Mom came back from her survey of the MayagŁez/Hormigueros area. She could not get to many parts due to the debris, but she reports that Valle Hermoso flooded up to 4 feet with water. My grandmother's house is there and got about 2 feet of water inside. My aunt's house flooded 4 feet with water according to the marks on the wall. The water has gone down now and they managed to clean my grandmother's house. Both these houses are in Valle Hermoso. She also tells me that the MayagŁez Mall is closed off and guarded with Police to prevent looting, although no one has that in their minds at this time of reconstruction. The once lush and green mountains that we could see from our house in Buenaventura are now bare. It appears that every single leaf has been blown off. My Mom is worried that she cannot see any of the little houses that used to peek trough the foliage before. All the stained glass windows of the church lay irreverently broken inside. Some parts of the roof have been partially torn out and remain dangling from the edge. A metal light pole from the baseball park in Buenaventura lies on the street, still allowing cars to go by it. They are rationing the water at home since they are not sure how long it will be before the water service will return. David Arvelo Dallas, Texas email@example.com
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 15:07:39 -0400 From: J. Omar Molina (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Report from Puerto Rico Hola! I live in Guaynabo, north of the Island. Situation in many areas still critical. 100% of the Island is without power, and 75% without water. Many areas of the north are heavily flooded. The west is incommunicated, as well as most of the south. Damage is estimated in over US$100,000,000. Most of the crops (plantain, coffee, etc.) was 100% lost. Visit "El Nuevo Dia" (newpaper) site at www.endi.com for more information. In more personal news, thanks to all who wrote to me. If anyone need to contact someone in the area of Guaynabo please send me and email with the following information: * Your complete name * Relationship to the person to contact * Person to contact's name * Person to contact's phone * Person to contact's address * Short message to deliver. I will try to turn on the generator to check my email at least every day. I will reply when I receive your message, but it may take awhile to reach the party in question. Take care! Edwin
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 09:39:08 -0700 From: "Morales, Carlos" (Carlos.Morales@smi.siemens.com) Subject: Puerto Rico - Fajardo Marina Damage I was able to speak with my parents last night. They drove from San Juan to Fajardo yesterday to check on their boat. Apparently, Sea Lover's Marina, where it had been berthed, is completely gone (pretty much the same happened during Hugo). They were able, however, to move their sailboat to Villa Marina at the last minute, and it suffered only minor damages. It seems Villa Marina only suffered some structural damage, mostly in the area of the more expensive boats, where the slips had zinc roofs for shade, and in the drydocks. Carlos Morales
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 12:33:23 -0700 From: Micaella Hammett (email@example.com) Subject: News from Levittown Puerto Rico Hola,This is Micaella from Ohio. My grandfather Raul DelManzano gives this report on the conditions in Levittown. The skys are still quite cloudy.Our phone lines here are working though we still have no electricity. The Del Valle Blvd Food market has been destoyed.Any homes with tin roofs have also been destroyed. We are still out of water for the time being.Most of our trees are gone.There is a consideribly long line for ice in Levittown and probably throughout the rest of the island as well.We stepped out of the house when the eye came over us and got a nice surprise when the wind picked back up. The conditions of Doral Plaza are as good as can be expected.So if you have family their ,no need to worry.Lets all just take a moment to pray for the rest of the islands who are next,and thank God we were prepared for this one. Thank you and our prayers are with you people of this beautiful island and thaks to everyone who prayed for us during the Hurricane. s is Micaella from Ohio. My grandfather Raul DelManzano gives Mui amor ,From Mica & Raul
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 12:28:08 EDT From: Rinacool@AOL.COM Subject: Culebra I'm looking to hear something about Culebra. I heard through a ham radio operator on Culebra that my Mom and brother are okay and that Culebra received a lot of damage but nothing specific. Hoping to hear more soon. Sandy
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 10:15:56 -0400 From: "Montalvo, Richard" (MontalvR@bsci.com) Subject: Conditions in Puerto Rico I have been able to contact some people on the island and it would appear that everything is okay. Despite reports of mass destruction it would appear that damage to the western portion of the island was not as great as the press would have us believe. The damage is mainly consists in downed trees, damage to wooden structures, debris and some flood damage. In San Sebastian, there was some damage to local car dealerships and wooden structures. I also spoke to some friends in Mayaguez, who indicated that the damage was similar: downed trees, damage to wooden structures, etc.. They're without power and water and they tell me they expect to be without power for some time. One friend in Mayaguez told me the power company expected to have power restored in Mayaguez sometime this Friday. I spoke to my parents in Sabana Grande, and they said pretty much said the same thing - very strong winds but little in the way of destruction. Most of the damage was downed trees blocking roads, debris, and damage to some wooden structures. They are also without power. I was told the storm was impressive wind-wise - the howling winds were very frightening but little in the way of rain actually hit San Sebastian, Mayaguez, or Sabana Grande and thankfully no loss of life and very little damage occurred.
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 09:43:01 -0400 From: Joanne Konst (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Caguas I spoke to relatives in Caguas last night. The city was spared, compared to the rest of the island. Apparently the mountains surrounding Caguas were able to deflect much of the wind, and even though the eye went directly over the city, the damage was not as extensive as the rest of the island--windows broken, trees downed, but no major damage so far. They told me Fajardo was hard hit by the winds and the surge. The west and northern plain were pretty much incommunicado. Arecibo is flooded, with more water still pouring down the mountains. Mayaguez has been hit with lots of rain. Georges stalled over Hispaniola, and the rain bands were still over Mayaguez as of last night. They told me this is the worst hurracane they have experienced, but the people were prepared and took shelter. As bad as it was, lives were spared and help is already coming in. Que Dios los bendiga.
Earlier reports have been moved to this webpage.
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