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- - - 2008 Hurricane Season - - -

- More rain, more misery
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 14:50:17 -0500
We all have our collective fingers crossed that the low pressure system now sitting over Haiti will not dump too much rain and add to the misery of the tens of thousands of Haitians who have lost their homes and who are located in temporary shelters.  Overall, the situation has improved somewhat but the transport of relief supplies by road is still hampered by damage to several key bridges--many of which were completely destroyed.  Trucks have been fording the Montrouis river for the last couple of days, but today the ford has been closed because the river has risen slightly because of rains this morning in the watershed, and also because the trucks and buses pushing for a place to cross the river are getting in the way of the contractor working to construct a new low concrete bridge just downstream from the bridge on the RN1 that was damaged 2 weeks ago. The rain has now stopped in this area but there are heavy although broken clouds to the east of us.  The probability of rain later today or tonight seems high.
The storms over the last month have carried away hundreds of livestock and destroyed fields and crops across the country.  The immediate problem of homeless people is being addressed by the international agencies, but there will soon be widespread problems with providing enough food -- particularly in the rural areas that are so hard to get to.  This morning we tried to drive up to Ivoire from Montrouis on the Arcadins coast.  We ran into brief but heavy rain that turned the mountain track into a muddy skating rink.  The 4WD vehicle slid sideways into a shallow gully, and we spent 45 minutes working in the rain stuffing rocks under the wheels as we struggled to turn the car around and head back down to Montrouis.  The villages higher up in the hills can only be reached on foot at the moment.  Hundreds of house have been damaged and destroyed in the upper watershed and almost no assistance is yet being provided to these rural areas.

- Video clip Correction
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 15:40:29 -0700 (PDT)
The first storm is Gustav and the second Hanna.


- Video clip of Hanna and Ike
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 14:49:53 -0700 (PDT)
Below is a web site of one the missions we fly for.  They are located in 
Jacmel, Haiti.  On their home page is a Youtube clip of Hanna and Ike and what 
it did to their property.  The first section is flooding from Hanna and 
aftermath then is shows Ike and aftermath.  Note the level of rocks deposited 
on the red truck from Hanna and then Ike.  They had over 8 feet of boulders and 
rocks washed onto their property.



  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 15:15:23 -0700 (PDT)
Ike is upon us!  Gonaives and much of Haiti are still under water and Ike is 
giving us more.  By noon in Port au Prince the sky was cloudy and by 4:30 we 
are getting light rain and thunder as the outer bands of Ike arrive.  Attached 
are some pictures taken by our ticket agent in the central plateau of Haiti.  
It is a town called Hinche.  This flooding was from Hanna.  With everything 
already soaked more flooding is for sure.


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- Gonaives
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 06:33:36 -0700 (PDT)
Yesterday we took the International Red Cross on a survey flight of the 
flooding at Gonaives.  The entire city is under water.  Any house that had a 
flat roof had people on top trying to escape the water.  All roads to Gonaives 
are under water.  110,000 people are trapped with no food or water.  The UN is 
trying to get supplies in but with flooded roads they cannot.  Our airstrip is 
under 8 feet of water so the UN helicopters are the only aircraft able to land 
in the area.  Exposure and the lack of food and water are the main threats now. 
 In the coming weeks, water born disease will be a huge problem.  Attached are 
pictures from the flight.


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- Hammered by Hanna
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 11:48:13 -0500
Hanna finally swings away to the north and we get to see the sun again after several days of almost constant wind and rain.  Many areas are flooded and Gonaive is a disaster. Several people have been swept away and the death toll is not yet known.  On the Montrouis coast we are trying to determine how much damage has been done to infrastructure and agricultural production.   Several of the watershed slopes show huge gashes where ravines have been opened up by the downpour.   With Ike and Josephine on the way things are not looking good...

- Les Cayes, Haiti flooding
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 04:07:21 -0700 (PDT)


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- Flooding from Hanna
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 08:21:16 -0700 (PDT)
Last night and this morning Port au Prince had light to medium rain.  However, 
talking to people in the northern parts of Haiti they are getting a lot of 
flooding.  Gonaives (which was flooded by Jeanne in 2004) is having heavy rains 
and severe flooding.  People are back on roof tops.  Initial reports say the 
flooding is worse than Jeanne.


- US Embassy report Thurs am
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 17:14:49 -0700 (PDT)
Had one flight to Jacmel.  Noticed lots of flooded areas.  Kids swimming in the 
streets.  Lots of new erosion in the mountains north of Jacmel.  Below is the 
warden report from this morning.

Following is the latest information I have received:  
·       The Embassy has received reports of many roads impassable and damage 
to buildings caused by flash flooding in various regions throughout Haiti. 

·       The road from Port-au-Prince to the Dominican Republic is currently 
flooded and impassable.  

·       The Port-au-Prince International Airport is open again and American 
Airlines reported that extra flights have been added today (8/28) to their 
daily schedule of flights to accommodate those who could not fly in/out on 
Tuesday (8/26) and Wednesday (8/27).

·       MINUSTAH Operations reports to date (8/28, 10:00 a.m.): 12 are dead 
and 9 injured as a result of the storm. 

·       Our Embassy Warden in Jacmel was in constant communication with me 
throughout the storm.  She reported that Jacmel and its environs were hard hit 
by the T.S. Gustav’s heavy rains, winds and flash flooding, and that the 
flood waters are anywhere from two to six feet deep.  People are in need of 
food and shelter in this region.  

·       Our Embassy Warden in Jeremie reported this morning that the 
Grand’Anse River has overflowed its banks and that roads are impassable.   


- Goodbye Gustav
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 17:54:17 -0500
Gustav seems finally to have moved on.  The skies are clearing on the western Arcadins coast north of Port au Prince.  We finally have a half a sunset.   Looking to the south west though, the back end of Gustav is plainly visible.  Gustav seems to be just the first of a series of unwelcome visitors lining up for a trip to Haiti over the next few days.   The island is already waterlogged.  The road north to Cap Haitien is flooded and blocked.  No news from the south west peninsular but many areas must be  flooded.  September looks like a busy month.

- GUSTAV still hanging around
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 08:20:05 -0500
Still raining over much of western Haiti as Gustav seems reluctant to move away to the northwest.  An unwelcome guest...Not much in the way of winds on the Arcadins coast -- but flooding is the main risk.  The area around Gonaive was flooded yesterday almost before it started raining in Montrouis.   Jacmel must have been hit pretty hard.  Miserable and cold weather.   There was plenty of warning so let's hope no-one was hurt.

- Gustav
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 08:29:44 -0700 (PDT)
10:30 am in Port au Prince.  We have had light rain last night and most of the 
morning.  Wind started picking up about 8:45.  It is now gusty.  Still light 
rain and high overcast.  Airport closed today and possibly tomorrow. Looks like 
the south coast will get hit hard again.  Warnings have been going out on the 
news.  Traffic was light this morning but people were still on the street 
trying to sell what they could.  Hopefully the mountains to the south will 
block some of the weather from PAP.


- Fay moves on
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2008 13:56:46 -0500
Started to rain in Petionville about midnight and continued through midday today.   Winds were not much more than breezy--but it might have been a different story  on the coast.  No reports of flash floods or mudslides as yet, but almost certainly there will have been.   The sky this morning was wall to wall low clouds, cold and drizzling...    Now what does that remind me of?  Of course.., London.

- PAP Saturday am
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2008 07:02:47 -0700 (PDT)
We were up at the Montana last night visiting a friend and rain started about 
8:30.  Very light.  It rained all night but not very hard.  Not much wind, no 
thunder or lightening that I noticed.  We did get a lot of rain as my cistern 
was needing a water truck but now is about full.  No doubt there will be quite 
a bit of flooding in Haiti.  Most likely on the southern coast around Les Cayes 
and Jacmel.  All our flights were canceled today.   American Airlines has 
canceled their first flight in and delayed the rest for today.  Most likely 
they will cancel those also.

It is a very nice day for those of us that live in a good house.  The heat has 
been almost unbearable and Fay has cooled things off.  Not going to get much 
out of my solar panels so will have to fire up the generator. 



- Port au Prince 10:30am
  • From: W W <pilotmaf at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 08:29:59 -0700 (PDT)
Little sign of 92L as of this morning.  Returned from a second flight to the 
central plateau about 10:00am.  There was building scattered to broken clouds 
over central Haiti about 5,000 feet.  No rain visible looking into the DR.  
Very strong winds aloft out of the Northeast. Hopefully the system will weaken 
before hitting Haiti.  I have not heard any news or announcements to the public 
about the system as of yet.



- No beach today
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 09:44:00 -0500
Corry, 5 years old, is upset.  I had promised him a trip to the beach, but if the storm system that is now over DR catches us out on the Arcadins coast this afternoon the drive back to Petionville will be a little too adventurous for my liking.  I went up on to the roof early this morning to give the photovoltaic panels a couple of extra ties of wire holding them to the metal frames.  The last time we had strong winds one of the panels came out of the frame--not enough to do any damage but enough to show that that the panels are not well enough attached.   Hopefully they will hold.  Ten 100-watt panels is a pretty big investment.  I bought them years ago when the idea of carrying my own electricity around with me was an appealing concept.  This is the first time they have been installed.  Since the city power has been down in our area for a month now, they have turned out to be a godsend.  They keep the house supplied with electricity for about 9 hours during the day.  At night we have the 17kW generator.
No sign of the approaching storm.  To the east it looks hazy but nothing yet alarming.  We have alerted the mayors of St Marc and Gonaive and warnings will go out on the local radio during the day.   Flash floods are certain if this system dumped 3 inches on PR.  Hopefully, with enough warning, and assuming people hear and pay attention, we will avoid any fatalities.  
More later

- A stormy week
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 22:01:42 -0500
A stormy week so far with many evening thunderstorms.  Todays report from Jamaica got my attention -- with predictions coming to consensus on a bad year for hurricanes.  Already in Haiti last weeks' rains have caused fatalities--3 people were swept to their deaths in St Marc by flash floods.  That was just a local storm.  Up on the top of the watersheds, poor farmers continue to scratch away the land and expose the soil. Even where the land has so far been left fallow the vegetative cover is slight and the soil thin and fragile.  The trails up to the villages at 1,300 metres in the Mattheux hills off the Arcadins coast are all becoming increasingly impassable--raising questions about whether we will able to increase commercial agricultural production.  How will farmers get their produce to market if they can only descend on foot pulling an overburdened and undernourished horse?

- Delta T
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2008 22:53:45 -0500
A calm day finally in western Haiti.   A late afternoon thunderstorm rumbled across the cul de sac plain.  Brilliant ultra violet and pink flickering among the cumulus across the western sky at dusk.  I'm fascinated by the tropical wave now gathering force over Dakar.  I remember the huge evening thunderstorms in Bamako when I lived there years ago.  We would sit outside on the veranda and watch the show.  Probably not good for the eyeballs all that UV, but the lightshow was amazing.  I never connected all that astonishing atmospheric power with the tropical storms that would later threaten the Caribbean.  I imagined a thunderstorm as something that exploded locally and then blew itself out--not something that had a longer life and gathered force from the ocean's warmth as it headed out to the west over open water.   The idea of a hurricane as a 'heat engine' that generates all its massive force from the temperature difference between sea and sky is hard to let go if you are interested in renewable energy. 

- Finally calm
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 21:13:19 -0500
Pretty horrible weather over Haiti at the moment and likely to last a few more days according to the GOES images.  Yesterday evening there were heavy thunderstorms on the west coast and winds strong enough to spin a few roof sheets off and around in the street.  The black foot-long seed pods of the flamboyants were almost all carried away and dumped clattering in the street.  A few branches down for good measure.  
This evening gusty winds whistled loudly through the sliding windows of the house in Petionville.  A noise I hate but should probably try and get used to.  Tonight at 9 pm the wind has finally withdrawn.  No doubt she will be back tomorrow.   A nice moon is out there, pretending that all is well...

- Heat transfer
  • From: "Martin Bush" <mb.haiti at gmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Jul 2008 22:53:33 -0300
Everything relatively quiet although strong winds picked up this afternoon as I was contemplating getting my two sets of palm leaf matting up onto the roof to try and reduce the daytime heat conducting down through the flat concrete roof everynight and radiating later into the bedroom below.  Air conditioning not being allowed when the inverter is humming a lonely tune without city power--which is most of the time.  Manhandling the palm fronds and a dozen heavy concrete blocks up onto the roof will be attempted over the weekend assuming the wind stays quiet.   High above the spectacular Arcadins coast on the upper slopes of the Chaine Matheux the poorest farmers continue their toil for a meagre income by ripping away the new green ground cover that has sprung up after the start of the rainy season. On the newly bared and exposed soil they will plant a crop of maize and beans.  But without the matting of natural cover, the earth will wash down into the lower watershed under the force of the first heavy rains.  The trees are long gone.

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