Hurricanes: A Different View Point


This past week, hurricanes have been headline news in America. Hurricane Matthew has taken South Eastern America by storm. While I was watching the news coverage of the preparations and the aftermath of Hurricane Mathew, made me reflect on my own experiences with hurricane encounters. I have never encountered a hurricane while in the U.S., but I would always have an encounter while I was in at home, in Bermuda.

All across the world, natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes, evoke fear in to people’s lives and their well-being. Hurricanes can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable. Hurricanes start out as tropical depressions then they evolve into tropical storms then increase in numerical categories to describe their veracity. They are pretty much super storms on steroids.

I am originally from a small island, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean called Bermuda. From watching constant coverage of Hurricane Mathew and from also having first hand experiences from home I noticed a few differences on how hurricanes affect our different countries.

In Bermuda, when a tropical storm or tropical depression warning is issued, we first make sure if it’s going to be a direct hit, when it will hit (to see if you still have to go to school or to work if it’s on a weekday) and what category it will be if it does hit. These factors determine how serious it will be, and what we need to do to prepare for the storm. Truthfully, I think we as a country wait for the very last minute to get our preparations together. This is because, we are literally a dot on the map. Don’t believe me? Google it. Being so tiny, it can be a hit or miss with a hurricane.

Once we find out that a hurricane is about to hit and knock on our front door, we go out in a panic and buy what we need. Unfortunately, everyone back home has this mentality. Therefore, the stores are usually crammed and slowly running out of food or supplies. If supplies do happen to run out, then it’s not the end of the world. If for any reason, you are in need of any kind of supplies, my country is very neighborly. Any coworkers, family, friends, and even random citizens will not hesitate to help you out.

The supplies that we stock up on include; batteries, flashlights, nonperishable foods, water, snacks, matches, candles, items for a BBQ, for example: coal and wood, a cooler, a generator (if you are fancy), cards, radio and alcohol. It is essentially everything you need for camping, but inside your house.

I believe Bermuda houses are architecturally stronger than American houses. I say this because our homes have been designed to with stand island living conditions which

Front view of houses with white roofs, Bermuda

include strong winds 99.999% of the time. Our houses are made out of concrete blocks. These heavy concrete blocks make it more difficult for strong force winds to blow down our walls. Our roofs are also made out of another heavy material called limestone. The heaviness of our roofs helps prevent damage if a tree falls on top and it can also help prevent our roofs from blowing off. Architectural structure’s that Bermuda houses have that help prevent damage when hurricanes come are blinds. Usually blinds are placed outside of our homes to shield out windows from strong force winds and flying debris.

Other preparations that we do to our houses before a hurricane hits include buying wooden ply boards that are to be frilled outside, over your windows, if you do not have blinds.  Moreover, if you don’t live close to the water, you can also tape your windows, by placing strips of masking tape diagonally, vertically and horizontally on your windows it helps strengthen them so they will not bend or shatter.  More tips are by cracking your windows on each side of the house so the wind can pass through, as well as make sure to remove everything off of your lawn. If you live by the water it is best if you move your car into a safe location. In Bermuda, the average household do not have garages off of their homes. Instead we put our cars far away from trees and cover them the best we can. I remember one year someone wrapped their car in saran wrap so the car would not obtain scratches while in the storm. I think that’s a little extreme, but also very funny.

Bermudians are very easygoing people. I believe we don’t react the same way as Americans do when a hurricane is approaching. We do understand that hurricanes can be fatal but we make sure not to constantly evoke fear in one another. We rather take our time preparing with family and laughter.  Bermudians take funny pictures of there times preparing for the storm like these ones below. We cannot evacuate so we rather ride out the storm together with positive vibes and faith.img_2864-2