Potential Hurricane Scare Early Next Week

30 08 2016

Dale C.S. Destin |

A weather disturbance coming off West Africa will likely cause a scare to residents of the northeast Caribbean early next week. Two of the more reliable weather models are forecasting this disturbance to become tropical storm or hurricane later this week and track in the direction of the islands.

Tropical Disturbance Moving Off the West Coast of Africa - Aug 29, 2016

Tropical Disturbance Moving Off the West Coast of Africa – Aug 29, 2016

The preliminary forecast track has it moving on a westerly path, in line with the Leeward Islands, which includes Antigua and Barbuda. However, just before reaching the islands, it’s forecast to turn right or north away from the islands, which should spare us its wrath.


ECMWF Integrated Forecast System Showing at least an 80% Chance of a Tropical Cyclone Near the Northeast Caribbean Between Sep 4 and 6

Twenty-one years ago from September 5, 2016, Antigua and Barbuda experienced one of the most powerful hurricanes in its history – Category 4 Hurricane Luis. It brought death and major destruction to the islands. It left in its wake three dead and around US$350 million dollars in damage. It is easily our costliest hurricane in history.

The system that could cause us some stress is not being forecast to be a Luis, God forbid! However, its potential path and timing are reminiscent of Luis. It could be nearest us around September 5, just that this time, it should turn away sooner than Luis did and spare us this time.

The hurricane season runs until November 30. The forecast calls for 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. Thus far, there have been seven named storms and three hurricanes, the last one being Gaston. The peak of the hurricane season is around September 10; however, for us, it’s around August 20 and September 3. Become hurricane strong by being prepared!

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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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