Islands dodge Hurricane Omar

Hurricane Omar approaching Puerto Rico. Photo by AP

Hurricane Omar approaching Puerto Rico. Photo by AP

The 15th hurricane of the season dissipated in the Atlantic last week after passing by several major Caribbean islands. The category three hurricane caused some flooding and minor damage in the Northeastern Caribbean. The following reports have been issued:

• St. Kitt’s: minimal damage, airport open; some standing water and beach erosion; no reports of serious damage to hotels, most of which have already been reopened for business.
• St. Maarten: no deaths or significant damages to infrastructure or hotel sector; some beach erosion and scattered debris; airport open. Roads were flooded and littered with tree branches and other debris. Two hotels – Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and Royal Islander Club – might close temporarily after heavy water and wind damage. A disco and restaurant at the Caravanserai Resort were destroyed, and construction of 260 new rooms might be temporarily halted.
• Bonaire: 48 hours of rain resulted in beach erosion, trees down, standing water in low-lying areas and loss of planking on docks; hotels, roads and airports all open.
• St. Croix: minor flooding, some damage to trees and boats. Ports were closed, the island’s Hovensa oil refinery, one of the 10 largest in the world, shut down operations for the storm.
• Antigua: At least 30 people were evacuated, emergency officials in boats rescued people stranded on their roofs as floodwaters rose and lifted some homes from their foundations.
• British Virgin Islands: emerged largely unscathed, said Deputy Gov. Inez Archibald, noting there was little damage beyond some mudslides and scattered debris.
• Puerto Rico: On the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, the storm flooded roads and downed tree branches.  One death was reported on Puerto Rico’s tiny island of Culebra. Authorities say a 55-year-old man collapsed from cardiac arrest while trying to install storm shutters on his house.

Hurricane Omar forced at least three cruise ships to divert course. Flights were canceled on several islands.

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