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Tropical Wave in days, Caribbean warned to watch out

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#Miami, Florida – Wednesday, August 29, 2018 – No longer quiet, the tropics are with what the National Hurricane Center is calling a  vigorous low pressure area associated with a tropical wave.  It is forecast to form between the coast of Africa and the Cabo Verde Islands on Thursday. Conditions appears to be favorable for development, and a tropical depression could form over the weekend while the system moves west-northwestward near the Cabo Verde Islands and the adjacent Atlantic.  This system is expected to bring rains and gusty winds to those islands in two or three days, and interests in that region should monitor the progress of this disturbance.

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…medium…60 percent.

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Bahamas News

Hurricane Season 2022 ends today;  337 died + Damages at $54 Billion

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

November 30, 2022 – What was predicted to be an extremely active hurricane season ends today Wednesday November 30, thankfully, falling a little short of 2022 predictions.  Less storms, less major storms still 337 were killed and damages hit over $54 billion.

The season started slowly when compared to recent years. In fact, 2022 was the first hurricane season in eight years where a storm did not develop before June 1st.   Nonetheless by June 5 the first storm was in and it was named: Alex which was one of the few storms to survive crossing land moving into the Atlantic from the Eastern Pacific basin.

Alex was the first of fourteen storms.  Bonnie and Colin arrived in July without much damage and the season was quiet for another month.

Then came September, which spat out Hurricanes Danielle; Earl; Fiona; Tropical Storm Gaston; Hurricane Ian; and Tropical Storm Hermine in quick succession.

Hurricane Fiona which reached Category 4 strength became the first major storm of the season on October September 20th passing by the Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos with severe flooding in the two Latino Caribbean countries and violent winds in TCI, a small British overseas territory which it hit as a Category 1 storm.

Bermuda would also feel the wrath of Hurricane Fiona which continued north, into Canada where at Cat4 strength it become that country’s strongest, devastating infrastructure in places like Prince Edward Island.  The death toll in Fiona: 31 people.

Only seven days later Hurricane Ian, which at its strongest was a Category 4, barreled towards Florida and the Carolinas going past Jamaica and directly over Cuba in the process, with destructive results.

Almost 150 people were killed according to US media.

Large swaths of Florida were torn apart and thousands left homeless.  A 12 foot storm surge meant many people in single story homes had to leave them behind lest they drown in the water filling them.

In October Category 1 Hurricane Julia and Tropical Storm Karl formed.  Skirting the Central American countries, Julia still drenched Venezuela, Guatemala and El Salvador – reports of severe flash floods led to at least 91 people died.

Hurricanes Lisa, Martin, and Nicole formed in November.

Nicole was a surprising late season Category 1 hurricane which brought extreme flooding to the Dominican Republic and Northwestern Bahamas affecting areas still recovering from hurricane Dorian.  It went on to further damage areas of Florida which had only weeks before been slightly affected by Hurricane Ian.   Nicole brought a direct and damaging hit.  At least 11 people were killed.

According to official assessments, the University of Arizona turned out to be the most accurate predictor of the season claiming back in April that there would be fourteen named storms, seven  hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

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Bahamas News

Hurricane Nicole – A symbol of climate injustice

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By Deandre Williamson

Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellow

 

#TheBahamas, November 29, 2022 – With the trauma of Hurricane Dorian still lingering, Abaco and Grand Bahama residents braced for Hurricane Nicole as they experienced another unfair blow of climate injustice.

As sea levels rose, triggering storm surges and flooding, the northwestern islands of The Bahamas were placed under hurricane watch.  For many, this signaled that the fight for climate justice must continue.

Some residents on those islands evacuated their homes and fled to shelters hours before Nicole made landfall in The Bahamas on Nov. 9 as a tropical storm and strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 75 miles per hour.

“The wind was manageable.  It wasn’t as bad as we thought.  In our area we got maybe a limb or so that blew down.  The power was out for a while, but thank God, we made it through it,” Abaco resident Mark Anthony Swain said.

Although the impact of Hurricane Nicole was minimal when compared to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, climate change is the underlying cause of the intensity and frequency of hurricanes in recent years.

When Nicole exited The Bahamas, the “all clear” was given, but the country isn’t clear from future hurricanes and the devastating effects of climate change.

However, it’s clear that The Bahamas and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) need climate justice because they are hit hardest by the impact of climate change, are the least responsible and together bear next to no responsibility for the climate crisis.

While the Government of The Bahamas is fighting for climate justice, residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama are calling for more to be done to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Swain, who also experienced Hurricane Dorian, said the countries that are major contributors of carbon emissions in the atmosphere should do more to assist smaller countries in fighting climate change, so when hurricanes and other natural disasters occur, the smaller countries will be able to maintain themselves.

“I think these other countries that are contributing to the climate challenge that we are facing should be held responsible and accountable in that regard,” Swain added.

China, the United States, Russia, India and Japan are the top five countries with the highest carbon emissions in the world.

Grand Bahama resident Randy Deleveaux, who was on the island during Hurricane Nicole, agrees that more should be done concerning the climate crisis because The Bahamas is in a hurricane zone based on its geographical location.

“We know that every year rain, sun or shine, it appears as if we are going to have a hurricane, whether it’s a major one or not a major one,” Deleveaux said.  “As a matter of fact, even though the ones we consider not major, we still have to take more necessary precautions because Dorian taught us we can’t take nothing for granted.”

Deleveaux suggested that the government should ensure that every household is equipped with storm shutters, floatation devices and life jackets.

“There are so many things that the government can do and persons can do in relation to hurricanes because we always have to prepare,” he added.

“Every time we have a hurricane coming, persons have to run and scrap for plywood to put on their windows.  We need to move from that and be able to properly prepare.

“Look at our coastal erosion and stuff like that because of the hurricanes.  I remember one time you could go on the beaches and see sand, now some of these beaches don’t have no sand like that because of hurricanes and we’re not even looking at the impact that is having on our coastal and marine life. We don’t replace the sand.  There is so much things we can do.”

 

Loss and Damage

But no matter how large or small a hurricane measures on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, there is always loss and damage associated with a storm.

According to Prime Minister of The Bahamas Philip Davis, during the Caribbean Regional Heads of Government Meeting in Preparation for COP27, more than 50 percent of The Bahamas’ outstanding debt can be linked to the impacts of the hurricanes between 2015 and 2019.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in its damage and loss assessments (DaLA) synthesis, noted that The Bahamas has lost more than $4.2 billion over the past seven years as a result of Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew, Irma and Dorian.

Abaco and Grand Bahama are still rebuilding from Hurricane Dorian and, although minimal, the damages from Hurricane Nicole are being assessed.

Prime Minister Davis was in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt attending COP27 when Hurricane Nicole passed through the northwestern Bahamas.  At COP27, he called on world leaders to get real about ensuring that loss and damage are compensated for.

“We do not have a significant carbon footprint in the world. Yes, we do have a significant carbon sink in the world.  But yet still, after this hurricane has passed, who’s going to have to pay for the recovery, reconstruction and for normalizing the lives of my people?” Davis said in a video interview.

Climate justice fights for solutions to the climate crisis that would result in reduced emissions and industrialized rich nations sharing the burden of the crisis by helping SIDS handle the severe effects of climate change.

Swain lost his home during Hurricane Dorian and there are others who also lost their homes and some are still living in trailers in Abaco.

Without insurance, Swain is rebuilding his home, but the progress is slow.

He explained that the Disaster Reconstruction Authority and other NGOs promised to help him, but they haven’t delivered on their promises as yet.

“We will, out of pocket, try to do some things to get us along,” Swain said.

Hurricane Dorian caused a housing shortage in Abaco and the demand for a home is great.

According to Swain, because of the demand and desperation to find a home, the rent in Abaco is skyrocketing.

“You can find the average apartment, two bedroom, going for no less than $1,500.  In some instances it’s over $2,000,” he said.

After negotiations and hearing the pleas of Small Island Developing States, COP27 closed with the announcement of a loss and damage fund to compensate countries impacted by climate change. This is a huge step in the fight for climate justice.

 

This story was published with the support of Climate Tracker’s Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellowship.

 

Deandre Williamson

Journalist

Member, The Bahamas Press Club 2014

 

Caption:  Flooding in Abaco caused by Hurricane Nicole. (Photo/Abaco resident)

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News

Winter Storm grounds flights on way back from Thanksgiving holiday

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, November 28, 2022 – Airports became congested halls of misery for many US residents on Sunday as hundreds of thousands of Americans trying to get back home after thanksgiving were stranded by a winter storm.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is always hectic for airlines and this Sunday was already projected to be a busy one with thanksgiving crowds swelling to almost pre pandemic sizes but that was compounded by the delay of over 4000 flights and the outright cancellation of more than 100.  The National Weather Service had warned that a storm would shift across the mid-Mississippi Valley and into the Northeast US on Sunday with widespread rain and gusty winds.

According to flight aware at 5 pm Sunday flights attempting to get into New York, one of the hardest hit states, were grounded at their point of origin for at least 2 hours. Information from their ‘Misery Map’ which tracks delays and cancellations showed almost 200 delays in the big apple alone and 800 in the four hours between 3 and 7.

The numerous delays, while likely frustrating for residents, were much milder than the pileup in summer where thousands of flights had to be cancelled as airline workers walked off the job.

 

Caption:  Buffalo, NY,  November 22, 2022

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