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- - - 2001 Hurricane Season - - -

  • From: "S. Hulett" <chidopostman AT islands.vi>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 01:07:27 -0400
As many of the residents of St. Croix, USVI will tell you -- It is
already time to get ready for Hurricane Season.  Oil lamps, generators
and canned corned beef are already on sale at the local supermarkets and
hardware stores.
   July starts preparation in earnest, and I've started testing my
shutters to make sure they all will close properly and are in good
repair.  (Built them myself--a full 1" thick, plywood, 3/4" pine and
construction adhesive with screws--anchored with heavy steel hinges and
bolts with industrial epoxy into the concrete walls of our little home)
  Our generator pooped-out the very day after power returned from
Hurricance Lenny
in 1999-- So this time we are going low-tech.
   Installed an old-fashioned iron hand-pump to access to cistern in
event there is no electricity.  Bought propane lanterns and
reconditioned an old Coleman gas lantern.  Candles, kerosene table
lamps, etc., and
a wind-up radio that never needs batteries.
   Some people are making sure they are armed in case of civil
disorder--but that's probably not much of a concern.  There was one
unfortunate incident of a home-invasion burglary during Hurricane
Georges,  but those guys are locked-up and long-gone, and by far this
type of thing is the exception.  I feel safer here than in Miami!
   Police and National Guard are much more prepared and are involved
with FEMA and local Civil Defense (VITEMA) in disaster drills, community
preparedness and education.

   Mostly during storms folks are helpful and peaceful, and take each
day as it comes.
   Living day-to-day with a faltering infrastructure, we don't panic
when things don't work right here, just kind of shrug our shoulders and
make-do until it is better..  And help one another.
   One year Army Rangers (82nd Airborne) were sent-in after Hurricane
It WAS a major disaster--like the aftermath of an A-bomb!  But when the
Rangers arrived they found nothing to do.
    Even the prisoners who escaped after Hugo trashed  the jail--just
went home and helped their families.  No sensational events, no crime
wave.  And they came trickling back in after radio reports warned them
they'd be picked-up if they didn't return.  They all did.
    That was 1979, and things are a bit different now.  The uniform
building code has made for stronger homes and businesses.  People are
more prepared.  Sometimes it feels as though the island isn't quite as
friendly and 'close' as it once was, but it depends on what circles you
move in.
    We have a lot of outsiders/transients now.  Many are working on the
'turnaround' or expansion of the Coker Plant of our local Oil Refinery
(which by the way is a VERY clean one, as refineries go).
     Well, enough rambling until there is really something to write
      The mangroves and blue water  are calling me, and somewhere out
there is a fish with my name on it!

Steven Hulett.

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