20th Anniversary of Hurricane Luis

5 09 2015

Dale C. S. Destin |

Hurricane Luis at peak intensity on Sept 3, 1995

Hurricane Luis at peak intensity on Sept 3, 1995. Click to see animation

It’s September 5, the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Luis; the most destructive and costly hurricane in Antigua and Barbuda’s history. It was our Katrina.

Luis was a powerful Category 4 hurricane when its centre was nearest Antigua and Barbuda on September 5, 1995 around 8 am.

It formed on August 27, just south of the Cape Verde Islands and by September 3, Luis was a frightening Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph. Gratefully, by the time the centre passed over Barbuda on September 5, it had weakened to a minimal but still a very potent Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of around 130 mph.

Luis pretty much thrashed Antigua and Barbuda with unrelenting

Track of Hurricane Luis

Track of Hurricane Luis

winds and rains (around 253 mm or 10 in) that lasted for portions of September 4 and 6 and all of September 5. At the end of the torturing ordeal, just about every building was damaged or destroyed.

Luis left a damage-trail across Antigua and Barbuda worth over US$100 million, according to our National Office of Disaster Service (NODS). Other sources indicate that the damage could have been over US$350 million or about two-thirds of gross domestic product (GDP), at that time.

The hurricane was directly or indirectly responsible for three deaths, injury to over 100 and left over 3000 homeless. Many had to remain in shelters for months.

Luis also ravaged the rest of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the northern Windward Islands.


I hate to refer to this as an anniversary; it’s more a nightmare that I would not wish on our worst enemy.

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