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Facing The Aftermath Of Hurricane Matthew

Updated on November 27, 2016
Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

International Travel Writer and Photographer who considers herself a global citizen, sharing the world with her readers through her travels.

The most powerful Atlantic tropical storm in almost a decade.

Hurricane Matthew making its approach on Cuba and Haiti
Hurricane Matthew making its approach on Cuba and Haiti | Source

A quick lesson

As I was walking around taking photos the morning after Hurricane Matthew's visit, I not only noticed the damage that had been done, but also the beauty that still remained. There was plenty! I know that those of us who were touched by the storm this past week have all been surrounded by some messes after our very close call with Hurricane Matthew, but it is certainly a good thing that the damage here wasn't worse.

I got a fair share of exercise this past weekend cleaning up the yard and garden. The weather smiled on us for the clean-up, as these past few days have been beautifully cooler! The neighbors came together and really helped each other out.

For me there were many lessons learned as we prepared for Hurricane Matthew, especially lessons in priorities and values. Yes, many of us focused on finding ways to protect the buildings, our homes. However, for me, what I really aimed to protect were all the photos, paintings and other treasures, including my family and friends, to ensure that they were all in safe places.

Trees will grow again. Roofs can easily be replaced, but our loved ones are the real valuables, and thank God, they are all fine! My prayers go out to those who were not as fortunate.

Hurricane Matthew: The monster storm with a monster image to match

The creepy satellite photo was posted Tuesday by Weather Channel senior meteorologist Stu Ostro as the hurricane made landfall in Haiti.
The creepy satellite photo was posted Tuesday by Weather Channel senior meteorologist Stu Ostro as the hurricane made landfall in Haiti. | Source

The birth of a monster

Matthew first began its development as a disturbance over the Atlantic Ocean near two weeks ago.

It has traveled more than 3,000 miles since it was first designated an Invest.

It's been nearly three weeks since we first began tracking the system that would go on to become Hurricane Matthew.

It took a few days for that system to organize as it moved westward in the Atlantic. About three days later, however, the system gained sufficient organization to be named Tropical Storm Matthew near the Windward Islands.

Once Matthew reached the eastern Caribbean, it became a hurricane and rapidly intensified. Its peak intensity was late Sept. 30 into early Oct. 1 when it reached Category 5 strength with 160 mph winds.

As communities braced themselves for the severe weather, one image ― captured on Tuesday morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES-13 satellite ― seemed to convey the dark spirit of Matthew.

A quick overview

Over 1000 deaths have been attributed to this monster storm as it has marched across the Caribbean and the Eastern United States this week.

Main bridges have been washed out. Roads have been stripped away making them impassable. Phone lines have been destroyed making communication impossible.

Evacuation orders were given in Florida and South Carolina, and along the East Coast in places like Georgia, making this threat even more ominous, as it roared closer to the U.S.

Evacuation orders

Tropical storm conditions were expected to reach parts of the Florida coast by Thursday, October 6th, and hurricane conditions were to intensify in some areas later in the day, the National Hurricane Center warned. Hurricane Matthew had top sustained winds of 120 mph, a Category 3 hurricane, Wednesday morning and we were warned that it could strengthen in coming days, the center said. It did.

Evacuation

Evacuation taking place from the East Coast of Florida to safer areas on the West Coast of the State.
Evacuation taking place from the East Coast of Florida to safer areas on the West Coast of the State. | Source
Evacuees leaving the Space Coast, and other parts of East Coast of Florida to escape the impacts of Hurricane Matthew
Evacuees leaving the Space Coast, and other parts of East Coast of Florida to escape the impacts of Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew and Haiti

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, slamming the country’s southwest coast with winds of 145 mph and major flooding. Florida, South Carolina and Georgia each declared a state of emergency as the storm made its way toward the United States.

Haiti began cleaning up and counting its losses Wednesday after Hurricane Matthew killed at least 1000 people and left a trail of destruction before pushing toward the Bahamas. The death toll continues to rise.

Hurricane Matthew:

  • killed at least 1000 people
  • forced Haiti's electoral council to postpone Sunday's presidential election.
  • pummeled towns, farmland and resorts
  • toppled trees
  • ripped away power lines
  • collapsed bridges
  • left tens of thousands of Haitians without power.
  • flooding that created rivers of mud
  • thousands living in shelters
  • possible risks of starvation
  • further cholera outbreak

Stories were told of people being killed by flying debris, and it reminded me so much of Hurricane Gilbert back in 1988, when it hit my homeland of the Cayman Islands. As we sat waiting for the storm to pass, I remember hearing what sounded like torpedoes hitting the sides of the house. The following morning, after the storm, we ventured outside to find the ground littered with avocados from our tree. These had become projectiles during the storm.

With hurricanes it’s not the wind, or the noise or the water. Well, yes, those are dangerous and certainly cause death during these massive storms.

However, it’s the mangoes, avocados and other fruits that start flying like projectiles.

Can you imagine the stories that wold be passed down from generation to generation of how one died? Death by drowning has honor....or If the wind picked you up and slammed you against some cement building. Imagine the story being told that you died because an avocado travelling at 80 miles per hour smashed your skull.

I have learnt to respect the fury of the wind, but am very aware of the ability of simple, beautiful, sweet objects to become deadly in the middle of a storm.

Haiti

Source
Rivers of mud in Haiti
Rivers of mud in Haiti | Source
Residents work to clear a house of debris after Hurricane Matthew struck Les Cayes, Haiti. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters
Residents work to clear a house of debris after Hurricane Matthew struck Les Cayes, Haiti. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters | Source
Destroyed houses are seen in a village after Hurricane Matthew passes Corail, Haiti
Destroyed houses are seen in a village after Hurricane Matthew passes Corail, Haiti | Source

Death toll continues to rise in Haiti. It was over 1000 at writing this.

Assistance from the Cayman Islands, my home country.

Supplies being packaged and redied for transport to Haiti
Supplies being packaged and redied for transport to Haiti | Source
More than $500,000 worth of supplies, collected in Cayman over three days getting ready to be taken to Haiti.
More than $500,000 worth of supplies, collected in Cayman over three days getting ready to be taken to Haiti. | Source
Cayman Airways being loaded with supplies that will be taken to Haiti.
Cayman Airways being loaded with supplies that will be taken to Haiti. | Source
More than $500,000 worth of supplies, collected in Cayman over three days getting ready to be taken to Haiti.
More than $500,000 worth of supplies, collected in Cayman over three days getting ready to be taken to Haiti. | Source
Sharing 'Cayman kind.’ Plane packed with 10 tons of goods arrives in Haiti
Sharing 'Cayman kind.’ Plane packed with 10 tons of goods arrives in Haiti | Source
Operation Blessings truck arrives at the airport in Port-Au-Prince Haiti to collect aid from the Cayman Islands that was just delivered on Cayman Airways.
Operation Blessings truck arrives at the airport in Port-Au-Prince Haiti to collect aid from the Cayman Islands that was just delivered on Cayman Airways. | Source

Cuba sends doctors to Haiti to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and the cholera crisis

Hurricane Matthew and Cuba

Hurricane Matthew

  • reduced much of the Cuban town of Baracoa to rubble
  • whipped up giant waves that demolished cement buildings
  • whipped up winds that tore off roofs
  • had devastating impacts from storm surge and extreme winds
  • created heavy rains, flash floods, spin off tornadoes, and beach erosion

However, no lives were lost in Cuba, due to

  • preparation
  • a rigorous evacuation scheme
  • storm advisories on a loop
  • officials blared warnings from vehicles with loudspeakers

"If we had stayed here, this would have killed us," said Aristides Hernandez, 76, who abandoned his first-story apartment overlooking the sea for a friend's house inland.

"The sea came in through the front and exited out the back and took everything with it," he said.

The Locals sought to rescue whatever belongings they could find, setting them out in the street to dry. The promenade was strewn with clothes weighed down with rocks, mattresses, chairs and tables.

"We lost everything," said Osvaldo Neira, 57, rummaging around for material to build a pen for the three chickens that remained of what had been 32. Just one room of his two-story house was still standing.

"I even had to borrow this T-shirt," he said. "We're managing, but with pain in our hearts."

However, food and water was scarce in the shelters, which continued to serve much of the population.

The aftermath in Cuba

Cubans returning after an evacuation
Cubans returning after an evacuation
Residents of Baracoa sit among the rubble of what was once their homes.
Residents of Baracoa sit among the rubble of what was once their homes.
A woman searches amid the rubble of her home destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in Baracoa, Cuba
A woman searches amid the rubble of her home destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in Baracoa, Cuba | Source
Locals get ready for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in the Bahamas
Locals get ready for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in the Bahamas | Source
Boarding up in the Bahamas
Boarding up in the Bahamas

Hurricane Matthew and the Bahamas

The Bahamas on Wednesday morning, October 5th, 2016, were beginning to feel the first impacts from Hurricane Matthew.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Perry Christie warned Bahamians to brace themselves for a “worst case scenario” as Hurricane Matthew barreled towards the island chain, according to Tribune 242.

Christie noted that the country's most populated city, New Providence, would get a direct hit from the powerful storm, and urged residents to evacuate southern coastlines on every island and move into the numerous shelters set up across the country.

Hurricane Matthew continued to wreak devastation and destruction, anywhere it wanted, having no mercy. When will this end?

Ports have been closed, and since re-opened.

Some remain closed due to damage.

Schools are not in session.

Power is out and could remain out for weeks.

Hurricane Matthew and Florida

Thousands were without power in Florida early Friday morning, October 7th, as Hurricane Matthew began to impact the state.

Several Florida counties issued evacuation orders ahead of the storm.

The University of Florida canceled Saturday's college football game against LSU.

Disney World closed, a record 4th time in the history since its opening.

Rain bands flood roads as downpours inundate.

The intensity of the storm grows as it approaches.

Winds accelerate.

Conditions worsen with each each passing moment.

Buildings strain with winds lashing against them, protected only by boards that have been nailed over them to hopefully catch any flying debris.

I am sure that many people were wondering, "Is this the one?"

Survivors emerge to check damage done.

Fred Johnson, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Melbourne, said the center of the hurricane was more than 40 miles offshore when it passed east of Brevard County as a Category 3 storm, with sustained winds of 120 mph. There was damage, but nothing like it would have been if the storm was 20 miles closer to the coast, Johnson said.

State of emergency in Florida

Daytona Beach being lashed by waves churned up by Hurricane Matthew
Daytona Beach being lashed by waves churned up by Hurricane Matthew | Source
Disney closes....only the fourth time in history
Disney closes....only the fourth time in history | Source

Hurricane Matthew and the Space Coast....my neck of the woods

900 miles across. What a monster!

Schools have been closed. My youngest son does back-flips on his bed at the announcement.

We began preparations days before in the slim chance that it would have made that northeastern trek. It sure did!

We're now under a hurricane warning. Our phones blare in unison with the warning that has just been sent. "Hurricane Matthew is headed your direction. Take cover. Prepare."

We wait.

For now, all was still.

Wildlife headed for cover, sensing danger.

It is so still right now. My youngest son seems almost disappointed. "Is this the hurricane, Mom?" "No, my Dear. This is the calm before the storm."

Evacuations have been ordered from Merritt Island and Cocoa Beach and other beach areas along Florida's East Coast.

Roads come to almost a standstill with everyone trying to leave the area.

Gas stations have lines of people trying desperately to get a little bit of gas in their cars. Soon there will be "Out Of Service" signs posted on so many gas stations.

"Sorry, no gas."

It's 4:30 a.m. on Thursday and I can hear the rain beating on the windows and the wind howling.

Rumbling noises have started.

The sky becomes electrified.

The night sky is angry.

There is a short lull but at 8:15 the rains start again, and then the wind. This gets gradually worse until Matthew's arrival.

It's 1:15 on Friday morning and the winds are now screaming and howling outside. The rain continues to beat against the windows.

It's hard to see. I brave the elements and see the branches of trees as they struggle against the wind.

The intensity of the storm grows. The winds accelerate.

Conditions worsen, each moment more tense than the other.

As buildings strain with winds lashing against them, does anyone feel safe?

Blue and red lights go by. It's a police car. Something is happening at a neighbor's house. "Go back inside," the cop yells.

At 8:00 a.m. I am able to see some of the damage. Trees are uprooted and the winds still howl outside. My prized Moringa tree leans at a scary 45 degrees, clinging on to life. Debris litter the yards and rooftops. Plants continue to do that frantic dance against the power of the breezes, as they are lashed back and forth. Tree branches continue to strain, desperately trying to cling onto their stronghold. There is not as much water as I expected, thank goodness.

Whole trees have been struck down. Trees that have stood for decades, now lie on their sides, kissing the ground with their branches, bidding a farewell to this life, as chainsaws chop them up into pieces to be lay at the roadside for pickup and disposal.

If they're lucky, maybe some of the pieces will become firewood, providing warmth on those cold nights that are coming.

If they're lucky maybe some of the pieces will become mulch, providing warmth, nourishment and protection for other plants.

The winds blew a mighty hurricane, overturning everything in sight, leaving everyone in darkness.

Batteries, candles, flashlights, kerosene lamps, grills and generators will become our best friends over the next few days.

Pieces of the neighbor's roof now lay in my yard across my banana trees.

Live electrical wires lay in my neighbor's backyard.

Sections of her fence lay on the ground.

Debris litter the entire community, I was to learn later as my neighbor took me for a drive-through.

The storm blew off steam, releasing all its energy, it seems, into my neighborhood.

This Cocoa, Florida hotel was opened for business despite its signage laying in the middle of the street.
This Cocoa, Florida hotel was opened for business despite its signage laying in the middle of the street. | Source
This Titusville, Florida (Brevard County)  home was damaged by trees which fell on it during the storm.
This Titusville, Florida (Brevard County) home was damaged by trees which fell on it during the storm.

The clean-up begins

Generators hum throughout the night powering people’s lives, while the death toll rises in Haiti from 11 to now over 1000.

Hurricane Matthew hid the dead under rubble and water.

Yet we worry about whether we will be able to save the meat in our freezer. The perspective!

Kids play feverishly as if trying to make up for the time they were held hostage inside their homes by the storms.

The storm, at last, passes, and once the worst is over we emerge to check damage done.

I cannot get over just how clean the air smells, as if it has been through a giant air purifier.

Wait! It has!

The land has been swept clear.

Sadness, death, and rubble have been left behind for so many, not just here in Florida, but in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, the Carolinas and Georgia.

So much destruction for others to clean.

Worker clears tree branches lying on electrical wires at the Alligator farm in St. Augustine
Worker clears tree branches lying on electrical wires at the Alligator farm in St. Augustine | Source
Sign posted in Brevard County, Florida the hope that Hurricane Matthew would change its course.
Sign posted in Brevard County, Florida the hope that Hurricane Matthew would change its course. | Source
Tree lays across part of a home in Melbourne, Florida
Tree lays across part of a home in Melbourne, Florida | Source
Flooding in St. Augustine
Flooding in St. Augustine
Clean-up crew at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, in St. Augustine Florida.
Clean-up crew at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, in St. Augustine Florida. | Source

Storm surge in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

The storm surge is very visible in this photo as it comes inland in Jacksonville, Florida.
The storm surge is very visible in this photo as it comes inland in Jacksonville, Florida.

Hurricane Matthew aftermath in Flagler Beach

 Flagler Beach
Flagler Beach | Source

Scenes from my yard

Delicate plants, tools and other equipment that could become projectiles during the storm were stored away.
Delicate plants, tools and other equipment that could become projectiles during the storm were stored away. | Source
Laundry all washed, ready to be folded in preparation for the hurricane's arrival.  We lost power for several days.
Laundry all washed, ready to be folded in preparation for the hurricane's arrival. We lost power for several days. | Source
Water being boiled and bottled, just in case water had to be shut off during the storm.  Luckily, we did not have that problem.
Water being boiled and bottled, just in case water had to be shut off during the storm. Luckily, we did not have that problem. | Source
The calm before the storm
The calm before the storm | Source
Chairs secured to a stone table with bungee cords.
Chairs secured to a stone table with bungee cords. | Source
Several portions of a neighbor's fence lay on the ground the morning after the storm.
Several portions of a neighbor's fence lay on the ground the morning after the storm. | Source
The fury of the wind was very evident as it whipped against my Bird of Paradise
The fury of the wind was very evident as it whipped against my Bird of Paradise | Source
Tropical storm winds still whip back and forth on the morning after Hurricane Matthew passed through Brevard County, Florida.
Tropical storm winds still whip back and forth on the morning after Hurricane Matthew passed through Brevard County, Florida. | Source
Flooding was not much of an issue here as in other parts of the State.
Flooding was not much of an issue here as in other parts of the State. | Source
Several of my banana trees were flattened by flying debris that came off a neighbor's roof.
Several of my banana trees were flattened by flying debris that came off a neighbor's roof. | Source
Tree trimmers and the Illumination Company worked around the clock to restore power.
Tree trimmers and the Illumination Company worked around the clock to restore power. | Source
My prized moringa tree stood at a 45 degree angle the morning after the storm.  It has since been restored to an upright position.
My prized moringa tree stood at a 45 degree angle the morning after the storm. It has since been restored to an upright position. | Source
My cassava patch really took a beating during the storm, but it should be fine.  I am hoping the roots, which are the edible portion, have not been affected by the excess water in the ground.
My cassava patch really took a beating during the storm, but it should be fine. I am hoping the roots, which are the edible portion, have not been affected by the excess water in the ground. | Source
Power trucks and tree-trimming experts line the streets of my neighborhood as they worked to restore power.
Power trucks and tree-trimming experts line the streets of my neighborhood as they worked to restore power. | Source

Scenes from South Carolina and Georgia

Man holds on for dear life to a Yield sign in South Carolina
Man holds on for dear life to a Yield sign in South Carolina
Homeless woman in Georgia wades through a flooded street
Homeless woman in Georgia wades through a flooded street

Civil War cannonballs unearthed during Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina

Were you affected by Hurricane Matthew?

See results

Deaths caused by Hurricane Matthew

State or Country
Number of deaths
Haiti
over 1000
Florida
at least 7
South Carolina
at least 3
North Carolina
17
The Bahamas
0 reported
Cuba
0 reported

Tips to prepare for a hurricane

Baby wipes come in very hand in the case of loss of water connection.
Baby wipes come in very hand in the case of loss of water connection. | Source
Laundry all washed in preparation for the storm's arrival
Laundry all washed in preparation for the storm's arrival | Source
Boiling and bottling water in preparation.  The water was never cut off, so we were fortunate in that regard.
Boiling and bottling water in preparation. The water was never cut off, so we were fortunate in that regard. | Source
Tree branches that were hanging close to the house were trimmed.
Tree branches that were hanging close to the house were trimmed. | Source

Hurricane survival tips

  • Don't panic!
  • If you are told to evacuate, evacuate.
  • Check on neighbors if you decide to stay.
  • Make extra ice before the storm arrives.
  • Have one gallon of water per person for 3-7 days.
  • Have non-perishable food and juices on hand. Examples of these include pudding, applesauce, granola bars, pop-top fruit, peanut butter, jelly, bread, dried fruit are just some options.
  • Purchase a non-electric can opener. This will come in handy if and when you lose power.
  • Have lots of baby wipes on hand. These will come in handy for cleaning up when you cannot take baths or showers.
  • Battery operated radios or TVs will be very important!
  • Have a kerosene lamp and lots of candles available.
  • Don't forget the matches or lighters.
  • Charge your laptops and phones while waiting for the storm.
  • Fill your cars with fuel beforehand. Preferably days ahead. Lines for gas will be very long the day before a storm. Some gas stations may even run out of fuel.
  • Board up your windows or have hurricane shutters installed.
  • Have trees trimmed before a storm hits.
  • Store any outdoor furniture and ornaments indoors, or in a storage room, if available.
  • Don't take videos or photos during a storm, unless you are trained to do so. Not many of us are.
  • Have extra blankets, pillows, flashlights, batteries, paper plates and utensils for everyone!
  • Have cash on hand. If power is out, the ATMs and debit cards will not work.
  • Prepare a First-Aid Kit. Every home should have one anyway, even if a hurricane is not coming. First-aid kit should include: bandages, scissors, adhesive tape and gauze pads. Antiseptic spray, hydrocortisone cream, bug repellent, aspirin, rubbing alcohol, ointments for burns and cuts, essential oils and all those herbs you might use.
  • If you're on medications, make sure you have enough of them for the period during and after the storm.
  • Have toys, books and games available for kids. Electronics will not be working for those kids who are addicted to the screens.
  • A battery operated handheld fan would be very useful. You can find these, even at the Dollar Store.
  • Generators are very useful, but could be dangerous if not used properly. Proceed with caution. More accidents happened with generators after a storm than from a hurricane itself.
  • Have a charcoal grill available for cooking. If you have an electric stove, it will not work if you lose power.
  • Do NOT empty a pool. A storm could cause the pool to pop out. Lower the water level by one or two feet. Add extra chlorine to prevent impurities from contaminating the water. You never know what you might be able to use your pool water for after the storm.
  • If possible park your cars in the garage. If you have an electric door opener, be sure you know how to manually open the door in case you lose power.
  • Be prepared for after the storm and have your insurance numbers on hand.
  • Make sure your children have emergency ID's just in case you get separated for one reason or another. Never take chances when it comes to children.
  • Put important documents like passports, Green Cards, Medical records etc in large zip-lock bags. Make sure you know where to grab them should you have to leave rather quickly.
  • Make sure all pets are safe during the storm.
  • Wash all the dirty laundry before the storm hits. You'll want to have clean clothes, just in case you lose power and water connection.
  • Remember, there will be sunshine after the storm passes.

Beauty remains

A beautiful bromeliad blooms even in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew
A beautiful bromeliad blooms even in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew | Source

© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse

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    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 17 months ago from San Diego California

      This was brilliantly written. You included a lot of great facts, but what made it especially poignant and powerful were your personal experiences, particularly about the avocados becoming deadly projectiles and your son doing back flips because he got out of school. Great work.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 18 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Hi Shauna. I am so glad you fared well during the storm. It certainly could have been worse. Even though we came through virtually unscathed, we need to keep in prayer those countries that face a long recovery period. My heart goes out to Haiti, Cuba and the East Coast of the US.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 18 months ago from Central Florida

      Gina, first I must commend you on your outstanding reporting of Hurricane Matthew and all the areas hit. Topping your article off with hurricane safety and preparation tips is the icing on the cake.

      Matthew hit my area of Central Florida on Friday, October 7th. At work, we were told to go home anytime after noon. The glass high-rise building in which I work was closed Friday. When I got home Thursday afternoon my son and I moved all out outdoor furniture and pots into the shed, which can withstand 250 mph winds.

      Then we waited.

      Friday morning I was awakened by the wind at 6:00 (no chance of sleeping in on a paid day off!). Huge trees bent over in the force of the 60-70 mph winds we experienced in my neck of the woods. We were on curfew from 7:00 the previous night until 7:00 a.m. Saturday, meaning no one was to be on the road. Fortunately, we were not one of areas called to evacuate. The winds finally died down some by 2:00 Friday afternoon and the curfew was lifted. We were fortunate to have nothing more than tree debris in our yards. Although some areas of Central Florida saw trees completely uprooted, damaging homes and power lines, my area made it through virtually unscathed. My neighborhood never lost power.

      If Matthew didn't do the wobbling it did up the eastern coast of Florida, even inland areas like mine would have been devastated. As you mentioned, if it were just 20 miles closer to the coast, we may have seen the destruction that befell other areas in Matthew's path.

      Thank God he didn't circle back around as originally thought he might do!

      I'm eased to know you made it through with nothing more than some bumps and scrapes in the yard. Brevard County got hit pretty hard overall.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

      Great article for posterity. You captured the devastation and the struggle to survive. Thanks for the documentation by word and by pictures and good counsel for the future.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm so sorry for the people that were affected by the hurricane. What a sad situation. I'm very glad that you and your family came through the storm safely. Your tips at the end of the article are excellent.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 18 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Hi Manatita. Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, these storms are terrible. I'm so grateful that my area did not receive the devastation that was expected, but am in prayer for those losses experienced in the other states and countries.

      Yes, Shanmarie. After having experiences like those, one tends to take things in stride, but I was still very prepared for the arrival. Our Governor, Rick Scott, was on top of things, also, and I am so glad those in the low lying and beach areas heeded the warnings. Losing electricity for those few days, and the minor damage suffered, was nothing in comparison to what others experienced.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      My goodness! No wonder you seem to have taken Matthew in stride!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 18 months ago from london

      Terrible and devastating things, hurricanes. You paint the picture excellently! A great eye for detail.

      Frightening how many people died. Commiserations.

      Hurricane Janet was Grenada,s worst, I believe. 1955. I was 3 years old. Don,t remember a thing.

      Detailed and informative hub with great advice towards the end.

      Very happy that you and family are safe.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 18 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Hi Nellieanna and Shanmarie. Thank you both for visiting and commenting. Nellieanna, I am so glad you are receiving only good reports from your friends and family effected by Hurricane Matthew. I know whwat you mean about tornadoes. I lived in Arkansas and Mississippi. I remember seeing a tornado shelter for the first time. Many of these hurricane preparedness tips do work for tornadoes. Some can be done well in advance, if you live in those states frequented by those storms.

      Shanmarie, being in the middle of a storm can be terrifying with young children. I am glad you were able to leave before the worst happened. I can still remember an earthquake that took place in Jamaica. I couldn't have been more than 7 or 8, but it has stuck with me. Back in 1988 when Hurricane Gilbert hit the Cayman Islands, I was preparing for a trip to Taiwan. Of course, it was delayed as evacuation procedures took place for non-locals. I couldn't leave for a couple of days after the storm passed.

      I arrived in Taiwan that Saturday, after travelling for about 3 days. That night we had an earthquake, and in the following 3 weeks that I was there, we had 3 typhoons. In 3 weeks I went through one hurricane in the Caribbean, plus 1 earthquake and 3 typhoons while in Taiwan. It was terrifying and exciting all at once. I was part of a group with the Training In Missions program (part of the umbrella Council for World Missions). We saw devastation that is forever etched in memory.

      Yes, I do have an adventurous spirit but I respect Mother nature. I admit I prayed a lot during those days before the storm arrived.....and I pray a lot anyway.

      Now we have to add Bermuda to the prayer list as Hurricane Nicole passed through there.

      Stay strong, everyone! Much love and peace.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      Sometimes friends sent me pictures as Matthew went through. I've narrowly escaped being in the path of a hurricane before and I am so glad I didn't have to sit and listen alas the fury blew around our home. My children were just toddlers and we lived in The Piney Woods. Pine trees everywhere. There was only one other home on our street. Our home was not damaged much, but many had quite a bit of damage and we could tell our home had been rocked off of the peer and beams it was on. The seals under the floor were broken. Our country was under mandatory evacuation, but they didn't tell anyone. By the time we found out buses were loading, it was too late. I had to call my dad to come get us. He was six hours away, so we didn't know if contraflow traffic would prevent him from getting to us. He was able to, though, and we left as the winds were starting to pick up. I really can't imagine what it would have been like to experience that with toddlers.

      I feel so bad for those who lost everything. You are right, we are lucky because we can usually find a way to stay safe. Others are not so fortunate. In the end, life is what matters. Again, really glad you and your children are safe. But it does sound like you have a bit of adventure and curiosity in common with me. I am fascinated by the power of nature. It is truly awe-inspiring. It's terrifying yet somehow attractive.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 18 months ago from TEXAS

      Also- what an excellent list of preparations before a natural disaster. I'm not in a hurricane path but there are tornados aplenty. Some of the same dangers or effects on human life and property are left in that path, too.

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      Nellieanna Hay 18 months ago from TEXAS

      OH, Gina. First, I'm so glad you are OK and the damage to your property 'could have been worse'. SO very glad. But my heart breaks for all those whose lives were taken or devastated. So very much heart-rending, serious, terrible damage everywhere in the storm's path. Poor Haiti. Another awful strike on that country and people. I've prayed and prayed over this.

      My great-granddaughter lives on the west side of the state but there was fear even there. Other relatives and good friends are located in the more vulnerable places in the direct path, but so far, I have not heard any bad news. I'm so thankful.

      Your hub deserves a Pulitzer. You've covered the effects and even the history of Matthew better than most news sources! I will be reading it again. And thanks for pointing out the beauty that exists.

      Just wanted to tell you how relieved I am that you and yours are OK.

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      Gina Welds Hulse 18 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Jodah. Yes, we were truly blessed that things were not worse. However, we must keep our neighbors in prayer as they recover from the devastation. Haiti has really suffered the last few years.

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      John Hansen 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

      What an amazing hub, Gina. Thank you for sharing all the information, photos etc. I am thankful you and your family came through virtually unscathed, but others sadly not so lucky especially in Haiti.

      It would have been a terrifying experience.

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