[IMG: Hurricane Georges making landfall on the Dominican Republic September 22, 1998; Credit: Dennis Chesters, Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, Craig Mayhew, and Hal Pierce, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Caribbean Hurricane Page

Updates from the Islands
Georges - Saba & Statia

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Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 20:48:23 -0400
From: Kinda
Subject: Saba info

I talked directly to my grandmother and aunt on Saba, who confirmed the
last 2 updates. They said they don't think Saba has ever seen a storm
like this, and that Luis & Hugo were babies compared to it. They said
that they had regular winds of 185 mph & gusts up around 200. They said
one man from the Bottom was hurt, but that was all. They don't think
electricity will be up for a long time, but a few homes have telephone &
they think that will be restored soon. Many, many houses lost roofs &
took in water. They do think that there were tornadoes because even some
concrete houses were destroyed. I asked if the Dutch had sent any help
yet, and they said that while a plane had come in today, they weren't
sure if there were any military on it. The new school in St. Johns (the
one they built after Hugo destroyed the old one) was pretty much
destroyed. It also destroyed many new supplies they had just received,
but were grateful that all the computers they had ordered had not arrived
yet. I don't think it mattered much where on the island you were. There
were houses destroyed in all villages. One of my aunts & uncles & their
son who lived in Hell's Gate resorted to hiding in their cistern for 4
hrs. because their house was so badly damaged. Thank God everyone is ok,
Seriously shaken up & have a long road to recovery, but alive.

Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 19:40:28 EDT From: DPat20@aol.com Subject: St. Eustatius We have just received notice about 7.30pm from a vessel thru St. Eustatius Port Service (SEPS) that the condition of the island is ok. There are a few structural damage; however, there are no serious injures reported. Telecommunications services will be out for a few days. Sadasey Family
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 13:31:18 -0700 (PDT) From: Tamara Psurny (crazymermaid@yahoo.com) To: gert@gobeach.com Subject: Saba update I just spoke to a friend on Saba. Like the update you already have, he said there was extensive damage. But fortunately, as far as they know, everybody is okay. Lots of houses are missing roofs. Parts of trees are everywhere. All the leaves are missing off all the trees. You can see houses where you didn't think there were houses. No electricity on the island; the roof to the GEBE caved in/blew off. As of right now, they have been cleaning the debris out of the building to see what's left. They don't expect power in the villages until the end of the week, at the earliest. If anyone is trying to contact the island, they still have phones. (But people who only have a cordless obviously do not.) Some of the boats that were pulled out and left in the Fort Bay area sustained damage. Some are okay. By the sound of it, all the boats that were taken halfway up the hill from Fort Bay were destroyed. (They're all in a pile covered in mud.) Lots of mudslides. And some near misses with giant boulders. A car was lifted and thrown over the wall. The school in St. Johns was pretty much destroyed. Missing all of it's roof. (I think he said it was missing a wall, as well.) Apparently, the hospital had a fire, in addition to the roof being blown off. The airport is fine. They were planning to have a Winair flight land sometime today. The Marines arrived today to help out. There's a lot of work to do, and it's going to be awhile before they get things anywhere close to normal. Best regards- Tamara Psurny (If you're wondering who I am: I presently live on Saba and work at one of the dive operations. I'm on vacation right now, in Ohio, where I am from.)

[Tue, 22 Sep 1998 16:00EDT] - Spoke to Brad Willard (Willard's of Saba, a 2,000 ft. the highest hotel in the Dutch Kingdom). It does not look good! 25-30% of roofs are gone. The eye passed 5 miles south of them. Rumors are that maximum gusts were 200mph (however, more official estimates are near 175mph which is still outrageous). The Willard's itself seemed to have survived the storm pretty well. The phone was even still working. Only Bungalow 7 (the highest one) had window damage. Lots of mud in the pool though. 'Many' people homeless. The vegetation is stripped (for people who have been to Saba, might understand what that means for this island!). The biggest problem seemed to be all the tornadoes which hit Saba, due to Georges. The school is gone. No power (early assessment: expected to be back by the end of October). Fortunately no people dead. Saba is a tight community who for sure will help each other out in these difficult times.

[Tue, 22 Sep 1998 15:43EDT] - Lori Hassell, Clemson, SC forwarded me the following:

     I have been in contact with someone in my family on saba throughout the last
     several days.  At least several, maybe 8, telephones are working throughout the
     island.  And THANKFULLY no injuries or deaths.

     The island of Saba took a direct hit from the hurricane and has suffered much
     damage.  Much more then Hugo and Luis combined.

     I talked to one of my sisters to give them the coordinates as their electricity
     went out pretty quickly.  I could hear the howling winds over the phone all the
     way in Clemson, SC.
     Many, many roofs are gone:  the hospital, nursing home, GE plant, airport
     building, schools, many homes on Hellsgate and Boobyhill, the Bottom, St.
     Johns, etc.  Several cars and trucks were tossed around like toys.  The entire
     island is devastated.  My dad is 72 and has never seen anything like this on

     Many people are saying that there had to be tornados to do the damage that is
     seen around the island.   They also feel that they were mis-informed about the
     strenght of the hurricane.  I talked with someone on the Weather Channel and
     told them that wind gusts of 163, 175 and over 200 had been clocked on Saba.
     They laughed at me and told me that could not be possible in this storm.  Let
     them send someone to Saba to see the damage that was done with this hurricane.
     The pressure during the storm was terrible.  Two houses completely exploded.
     Luckily my cousins were hiding in their cisterns.
     I feel so helpless sitting here in Clemson, SC.  Anybody out there needing
     information about relatives, contact me at dutchtreat@carol.net or they can get
     in touch with the ham radio oprerator on the island.  His frequencies are:
     14300 or 14313.  His name is Don McGee.  He will be up and running as soon as
     he takes care of the damage that was done to his towers.
     Supplies desperately needed on the island of Saba are:  chain saws, generators,
     tarps, wood, galvanize, hospital supplies, etc.

     There are over 200 US students residing on the island and attending the Medical
     University.  I'm sure that they will NEVER forget this past weekend and
     Hurricane Georges.  For those of you who are worried about them, they are with
     good people.  This morning on the island they had a meeting and decided that
     even with the massive destruction on the island that the school will go on!!
     Several of the students houses lost their roofs, but I'm sure that they had and
     will have a place to stay on the island.
     The Dutch marines were being sent in today to help clear the roads and start
     the process are trying the find the power lines, etc.

     For those of you who know the Hassell's, Peterson's, Thielman's, to name a
     few,on Saba they are my family.  I have 5 sister, a brother, my parents, and
     many, many aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. who live on saba.

     I will be in constant touch with them and will send other information as I
     receive it.

     Wouldnt it be nice if the tv, weather channels, etc finally acknowledged that
     we, SABA, are on the map.....  right between St. Maarten and the Islands of St
     Eustatius, St. Kitts, Nevis, etc.  Right in the direct path of this horrible
     hurricane Georges and they still DID NOT SEE US!!!!!!

[Sun, 20 Sep 1998 14:07EDT] - Fred Capello reporting from Curaçao on the situation on the other Dutch islands; St.Maarten, Saba and Statia:

     The center of hurricane George seems to have crossed directly over the
     Netherlands Antilles' islands of Sint Eustatius and Saba. At least,
     according to eye-witness reports from those two islands. Both islands
     seem to have sustained major damage to houses and buildings.
     On the island of Saba, the (small) hospital had to be evacuated
     because the building lost its roof. Another building housing senior
     citizens also seems to have suffered the same kind of damage. As far
     as I know, no casualties were suffered on either island.
     In Sint Eustatius, the departure and arrivals hall of the local
     airport suffered major structural damage. Communications with this
     island could so far only be established via radio. The telephone
     switching station apparently went out of service.
     Sint Maarten was farther from the hurricane's center and has escaped
     the kind of damage it sustained with hurricane Luis on September 5,
     1995. Still, some significant structural damage was caused by George's
     strong winds. Until noon local time, the Juliana Airport in Sint
     Maarten was still reporting tropical storm force winds with higher
     gusts. And the rain was still coming down in "healthy" amounts.
     In Curaçao, obviously far from Georges, skies continued to be partly
     cloudy with only patchy cumulus and cirrus clouds. The temperature was
     at about 34C (95F). Our only hope for short term rain is to our
     south over Venezuela. In case the Intertropical Convergence Zone moves
     northward due to the indirect influence of Georges, we might get some
     rain or thundershowers.
     We need the rain badly. Only 0.2 mm of rain has fallen here since
     September 1 (yesterday).

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