Cabarete, Dominican Republic Survives Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma was 400 miles wide ~650 km , and a category 5 storm meaning winds exceeding 156 mph ~ 251 km/h. In other words, it was an unprecedented monster of a storm, mowing its way through the Caribbean, headed straight for the North Coast of Dominican Republic, our home. Although we were spared from the worst of the largest, most powerful hurricane…ever, it’s a relief we do not take for granted.
Dominican Republic, a Safe Haven for Sailors avoiding Storms
During Hurricane season sailors often find sanctuary in Dominican Republic because there’s something about the positioning of the country that makes it well protected from natural disasters. Our last horrible hurricane was George in 1998 which hit the south of the island in Santo Domingo. There have been 6 hurricanes to hit us since 1980 so we respect the power of the ocean, but it’s worth mentioning that we are often outside of the hurricane belt. *knocks on wood*
There were no reported deaths in the Dominican Republic nor Haiti from the wind gusts, downpour, and destruction of Hurrican Irma. A pedestrian bridge connecting the two countries going over the Massacre River (also called Dajabón) was destroyed. Over 5,000 people were evacuated across the country. Despite some criticism, we are proud of the protocol carried out by local officials. After it all, the worst of the damage was from downed trees and power lines.
Hurricane Irma in Cabarete
As the storm approached, Cabarete took precautions to make sure property was protected. Most seemed prepped for a few days without power or water. Though there wasn’t much of a panic or interruption of order for the coming of Hurrican Irma.
Our beachfront hotel had no damage to our yoga loft, spa, beach bar, restaurant, pool, or windsurf school. None of our rooms suffered nor was there flooding in any of our ground floor suites. We just had some debris to pick up.
We were lucky, but sadly a small few of our neighboring restaurants had wind pounding in from the back and waves crashing in from the front. Fortunately Cabarete has a rule aimed to protect nature and property owners from storms so only wooden structures are allowed on the beach. You can understand why these might easily be taken by the most powerful hurricane ever recorded. These businesses should be up and running in the next few days, the Cabarete community was cleaning up the beach Friday morning less than 12 hours after the storm passed.
Kite Beach, where kitesurfing in Cabarete is popular and just 1.5 miles ~2.5km west of us, was as perfect as possible considering the conditions they withstood. About 4 miles ~6.8 km west of Villa Taina is the surf beach in Cabarete, Playa Encuentro. We were relieved to find all the surf schools intact and only branches and some trees to collect.
Hurricane Irma Destroys some parts of the Caribbean
Like any force of nature, predicting where hurricanes will go, or what they will do is impossible. Forecasts and models were showing the eye of the storm, where conditions are the worst, coming straight for us. Just 2 days before it passed us, Irma was sustaining 185 mph ~ 298 km/h winds.
Our heart goes out to those affected by Hurricane Irma, our Caribbean neighbors experienced catastrophe. Irma had destroyed 90% of the structures in Antigua and Barbuda leaving 60% of the inhabitants homeless. One died in Anguilla, yet St. Kitts and Nevis were fine by Thursday. In St Maarten one inhabitant passed away due to the storm, and 11 people have died and over 100 injured in St Martin and St Barthélemy. There are 8 confirmed deaths in the Virgin Islands and reports have come out of looting. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency has said that the control tower of one major airport in the British Virgin Islands had been “compromised.” Irma knocked out power for almost one million residents in Puerto Rico.
What’s more, within the week some of those islands are bracing themselves yet again for Hurricane Jose, now a category 4 storm.We were spared from full impact of the dreadful Hurricane Irma and are very grateful. If you have any questions about our hurricane plan or hurricane season please let us know.