Notes From The Margin

March 21, 2008

As The Waves Subside, Reports Come In….

As the large waves subside, reports of damage are coming in from across the Caribbean. Thankfully in most cases it does not appear to be severe and at this point there is only one fatality being reported (in Barbados)

Here’s the story so far….

Barbados: One person drowned, damage to several boats. Harbour operations disrupted for the day. We passed the Harbour today and several cruise ships were docked so we can assume port operations are back to normal. In a couple of places along the west coast the sea has over run the coastal road depositing sand but no significant damage is reported.

Trinidad: Lifeguards were kept busy at Maracas and Las Cuevas beaches in the north of Trinidad, however beaches remained open and no significant damage was reported. Lifeguards made at least one rescue, however no drownings reported.

Tobago

Huge waves pounded Tobago beaches that were closed

Fishermen still ventured out and reported good fishing despite the high seas.
St. Lucia
In St. Lucia several hotels reported that water had entered areas of the hotel. Also fishing boats were taken to safe harbour….
British Virgin Islands.
There are reports of some flooding with debris on roads but no major damage seems to have been reported yet.
Cuba
Cuba appears to have been quite badly battered, with 800 people being evacuated from coastal areas, the waves did considerable damage.
Puerto Rico
There are reports of some coastal flooding and minor damage in some tourist areas.
Because of the Good Friday bank holiday, news reporting (particularly on the net) has been particularly lax today. We have yet to see much news coming out of the OECS so it is likely that tomorrow we will see fresh information. Notwithstanding that, it would appear that with the possible exception of Cuba (and the drowning in Barbados) there has not been any major damage as a result of the waves.
Marginal
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March 20, 2008

One Fatality as Massive Waves Pound Barbados

 

As Barbados’ coasts received a pounding from huge waves generated by an atlantic storm, an elderly gentleman got into difficulty swimming and drowned today.

Noel Austin, who accompanied the elderly man to the beach this morning admitted there were red flags on the beach when they arrived, indicating danger and that swimming was therefore not advised. He said they still ventured into the water, but he emerged after realising the waters were too rough. Unfortunately, Austin said, his friend dismissed his advice to do the same.

The best efforts of the Coast Guard and a lifeguard on duty to save the St. Michael man were in vain.

 The heavy seas also affected operations at the Barbados Port where three cruise ships were forced to abort attempts to berth at the deep water harbour for safety reasons. After discussions between the captains and the Harbourmaster it was decided that conditions were too rough to allow for the tendering of passengers to the shore.  The port was offloading one small cargo ship that had a perishable cargo, but indicated that it’ s operations as far as servicing ships would be curtailed for the day. (The port remains open for deliveries of cargo)

There are some reports of property damage in neigbouring St. Lucia however we are short on details.

It is anticipated that the swell will become more intense over Friday but that sea conditions should be back to normal by Saturday.

We will continue to follow this story as details come to hand.

Marginal.

Hello? Hello? Police Emergency Hotline Out of Order…

Buried in the middle of the paper today was a story that the Royal Barbados Police Force’s emergency hotline number was out of order…. yes it did ask people to call another number, no I can’t remember what it was, no I don’t think that someone having and emergency and requiring police assistance would be able to find the number.

Does anyone else think there’s something wrong with this?

Perhaps someone should define the meaning of the word “emergency” for the telephone company!

Marginal

March 19, 2008

Eastern Caribbean Braces For Dangerously Large Waves

Don't be like these guys, exercise some caution around big waves....

A deep low pressure centre that spawned tornadoes and thunderstorms across the US earlier this week is set to generate massive sea swells in the Caribbean over the next two or three days.

The Barbados and Saint Lucia Meteorological Offices yesterday issued weather forecasts indicating that “significant sea wave height” were expected over the Eastern Caribbean, starting today and continuing into tomorrow.

The Barbados Meteorological Office indicated that swells around four to five metres, or 12 to 16 feet, were expected over the coastal waters surrounding Barbados from late Wednesday/early Thursday.

Islands further north are projecting EVEN LARGER waves!

So concerned are officials that in Barbados and St. Lucia the National Disaster Management agencies (Department of Emergency Management in Barbados and National Emergency Management Organisation in St. Lucia) have quietly started to put contingency plans in place in the event that they need to take action.
In Puerto Rico ships are being temporarily relocated, and people are being cautioned….
U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jim Tunstall in San Juan:-

“This is not a storm that surfers and others that typically enjoy relatively heavy surf need to go out in”

 

We will keep abreast of this story as it develops…..

 

Marginal

March 13, 2008

1984 – UFOs Place Barbados Defence Force on Full Alert – THIS REALLY HAPPENED!

We were going to do a story on the Caribbean Early Warning radar system but our google of “Barbados Radar” brought up a declassified US State Department Report on UFO reports and Barbados was one of the countries mentioned!

What follows is a story that reads like a thriller, with the Defence force placed on Red Alert in full battle dress with loaded weapons (including the Cadet Corps). Coast Guard units were deployed to protect the harbour and Police officers were placed on guard at beaches that might be subject to a sea landing.  The Trident was deployed to check for sea traffic but did not find any.

The then Prime Minister Tom Adams called the US Charge D’affaires to find out if the radar contacts were US aircraft which they weren’t. There was a Soviet naval exercise taking place but that was over on the other side of the Caribbean Sea near the Yucatan. The BDF’s Cessna aircraft was deployed to see if it could visually identify the objects but reported finding nothing. Two further aircraft with civilian pilots were on standby if needed.  Around 4.00am the objects were moving away from Barbados in the general direction of Martinique. The Defence Force stood down around 7.00am.

Up to now, there is no generally accepted explanation for what it was on the radar that caused the fuss.  Funny what you can find on the net when you look isn’t it?

Marginal

The full text appears below…
1.   (C) ENTIRE TEXT).

2.   SUMMARY:   THE LATE NIGHT APPEARANCE OF UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS ON BARBADOS RADAR SCREENS PROVOKED A SERIOUS DEFENSE AND SECURITY ALERT. OBJECTS REMAINED VISABLE ON RADAR FOR MORE THAN AN HOUR AND A HALF, FINALLY DISAPPEARING OUT OF RANGE TO THE NORTH. PRIME MINISTER CALLED CHARGE D’AFFAIRES TO CONFIRM THAT THERE WERE NO U.S. MILITARY OPERATIONS GOING ON IN THE AREA. THIS WAS CONFIRMED TO EMBASSY BY NATIONAL MILITARY COMMAND CENTER.  SO FAR, THERE IS NO CONSENSUS OR AN EXPLANATION FOR THE PHENOMENON. LEADING HYPOTHESES ARE ATMOSPHERICS AND TECHNICAL MALFUNCTION. BUT CONSIDERABLE SUSPICION REMAINS THAT SOMETHING VERY WORRISOME OCCURRED. BARBADIAN RECOLLECTIONS OF REPUTED “MERCENARY” INVASIONS IN 1976 AND 1980 HAVE BEEN PIQUED.  PRESENCE OF SOVIET FLEET IN THE
CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL

(more…)

January 10, 2008

Politicians, It’s One Week Before Elections, Do You Know Where Your Vote Is?

With one week left to go before elections, Barbados is in the grips of one of the most intense election campaigns in recent memory. The two parties’ campaigns appear to be evenly matched, and evenly funded, and to a certain extent evenly supported. We on the Margin have been watching the silly season unfold in all its glory, and we have to admit we are unable to predict a winner at this stage.

Yes, if you listen to Waiting In Vain and Royal Rumble and the other party hacks that inhabit the blogosphere, they all predict a resounding victory for their particular party. But having spent the last week talking to many people, we think that both parties are “Whistling past the graveyard”. For as much bluster as either side makes we’re not sure that either of them has captured the hearts of the electorate.  Barbadians are looking at both parties with a skeptical eye and the hard truth is that this election could go either way.

What we have noted that this campaign has been more about accusations and counter accusations rather than issues. We would like to see some serious discussion about both parties’ visions for the next five years. While we wish that we could say that we thought we would get such reasoned debate in the next next week, we really don’t think so. We think that this next week will get wilder and dirtier with each passing day.

We on the margin would urge Barbadians,  think long and hard about both parties before you go into the polling booth. Whoever you choose is entirely up to you, but be sure to participate, be sure to cast your x. Be sure to treat that decision with the seriousness it deserves.  Hopefully we will all be better off for your doing so.

Marginal

December 6, 2007

Did You Ever Wonder Why…..?

Filed under: Earthquake,emergency management,Royal Barbados Police Force — notesfromthemargin @ 1:41 am

Did you ever wonder why Bajans like to lock half of a double door going into an office or building? You see it everywhere…. there are two doors at the front of an office building or a supermarket and invariably one half is locked.

I’m not sure why we insist on doing it but  I do know that the practice is common. I think it may have to do with trying to preserve air conditioning.

That’s all well and good, but as was pointed out to me over the weekend, what happens if everyone wants to leave at once? Say there’s a fire, or even an earthquake, and people rush the door. With half a door locked you have halved the capacity to clear the building in the least time possible.

Never thought about this before, but now I wonder why we love to lock half of a double door.

Marginal

November 30, 2007

Regional Update on Earthquake Aftermath

We came across this article on reliefweb, that gives a good summary of the damage.

On Thursday, 29 November at 15:00 hrs (13:00 hrs local Caribbean time) an earthquake of magnitude 7.4 (National Earthquake Information Center http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/neic/) occurred near the island of Martinique – Windward Islands in the Caribbean. The epicentre was located at 14.921°N, 61.264°W. (21 km east of Martinique) at a depth of 145.4 km (90.4 miles). Tremors of varying time lengths and magnitude were felt in other Caribbean islands – Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Mobile phone services have been interrupted in many cases, and the tremor was felt hundreds of miles away in Guyana, on continental South America. However, as the depth of the event is considerable, the impact on the surface has been moderate.

In Martinique there have been reports of rocks fallen on roads and panic in supermarkets as products fell from shelves. The Prefecture scheduled a meeting to revise and evaluate the damages.

In St. Lucia there was some damage to the water lines, though no major damages reported. Some damages in the water lines.

There was temporary disruption of cell phone service in Dominica, but there have been no reports of injury or damage to buildings.

One injury was reported in Barbados when a person stumbled down the stairs during evacuation of a building. One house destroyed in Ellerton, St. George and some land-slides reported.

 This could have been much worse.

Marginal

October 6, 2007

A note on the Minibus crash in the Garden and the Press

I suppose we have become inured to this type of thing. A couple of months ago the blogs would have been all over this story. Yes there is only one fatality instead of the multiple deaths we have seen in other incidents. However a public service vehicle loaded with children and other travelers, from the reports in the media overturned after making what was a risky overtaking maneuver and colliding with a backhoe. At the time of writing investigations are still ongoing as to if the lady who was killed was a passenger or a pedestrian. The other Barbados blogs have been notably silent on the matter.

We on the Margin have blogged about police stopping reporters from taking pictures at the scenes of such incidences and arguing that it was a curtailment of the legitimate freedom of the press. However today the Nation today published a picture of injured CHILDREN awaiting treatment. I think the paper should strongly consider how it uses the freedoms it has.

We have no problem with pictures of the smashed vehicles or Emergency Services at work, however when the press choose to publish images of helpless victims at possibly the worst moments of their lives,  we recoil.

We are happy to go to bat for the press to receive the freedom that it needs to function in a democracy, however the press must also exercise those freedoms responsibly.

Marginal

September 24, 2007

Tropical Depression In The Atlantic? Cape Verde Storm emerging?

 

Just a short note on an emerging system in a Tropical wave that is emerging in the Atlantic. The NHC site says:

 

A 1007 MB LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS LOCATED ABOUT 565 NM SW OF THE
CAPE VERDE ISLANDS NEAR 8.5N31W. THIS LARGE SYSTEM CONTINUES TO
SHOW SIGNS OF ORGANIZATION...AND COULD BECOME A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO AS IT MOVES
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD NEAR 10-15 KT. A MORE CONCENTRATED AREA OF
SCATTERED MODERATE/ISOLATED STRONG CONVECTION IS NOW MOSTLY W OF
THE CENTER FROM 8N-11N BETWEEN 31W-37W. ISOLATED CLUSTERS OF
MODERATE CONVECTION ARE ELSEWHERE FROM 5N-12N BETWEEN 29W-38W.
THIS IS ONE OF THE MORE CLASSIC LOOKING CAPE VERDE SYSTEMS WE
HAVE SEEN OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. 

While nothing may emerge out of this, because of it’s position far south of us (8.5N) we should keep an eye on this one.

Marginal

Update:  Forecast models currently indicate that this storm will go north.

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