By KHRISNA RUSSELL
AND LYNAIRE MUNNINGS
Tribune Staff Reporters
HURRICANE Nicole brought heavy wind, rain and flooding to Grand Bahama yesterday.
Some residents who spoke with The Tribune said they were prepared for the worst having lived through the devastation of monster storm Dorian in 2019.
The storm became a hurricane as it made landfall on Grand Bahama around 6pm yesterday, according to the US National Hurricane Centre. Nicole packed maximum winds of 75 mph with higher gusts.
Joan Armbrister, a resident of Amanda Subdivision, off Coral Road, said yesterday that while anxiety was high in having to prepare for the arrival of Nicole in only two days, there was a certain comfort in being prepared for a worst-case scenario.
“Right now, this is the worst we have had so far,” Mrs Armbrister said in an interview with The Tribune around 4.30pm yesterday.
“The rain is down now. It’s raining heavily right now and there are gusts of wind. All day it wasn’t bad, it was just like a bad rainy day, until now.
“You’re sitting here and it’s like okay when are we going to get the bad weather? Because you are comparing it and expecting Dorian type of weather, but it’s not like that, so you are anticipating because everyone prepared for the worst.
“The power in my area went off last night for a couple hours through the night, but by the time I woke up after 6 it was on.”
She also said: “The anxiety to prepare in two days, most people were prepared like myself, I didn’t have anything to do other than to go buy some bread because I don’t have bread in the house like that. But the anxiety was like I really don’t think I could be shut up in the house for a couple of days with that weather happening outside.
“I have had friends who said they would just go book a room in the hotel and whatever happens, happens but they can’t be at home trying to run out in the rain and whatever so people had that real anxiety.
“There are people who just finished fixing their homes about two months ago, and then to go through this after three years of rebuilding. So, there is anxiety, kids have anxiety.
“It’s nothing like Dorian and we were prepared for a Dorian kind of situation, so that’s a good thing.”
An update at noon yesterday said there were reports of downed power lines and settling of water and fallen trees in East Grand Bahama. Due to high winds, gusts and rain, staff of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and the Grand Bahama Power Company said they would commence work once the “all clear” has been given.
Tre Dean, a resident of Eight Mile Rock, thought the storm was nothing to be scared of. He spoke before it made landfall.
Mr Dean said he purchased canned goods and “battened up” his residence in preparation for the storm.
“I mean it’s a lot of breeze, but it’s nothing to be scared about,” he said yesterday. “You would be more comfortable once you are more inland, because it’s coming from the north travelling towards the south, so, we should be good.”
Another resident, Charmiane McInnis, who lives in Freeport, said she was experiencing some flooding in her yard. At the time of contact yesterday, she said the electricity and telephone service remained stable.
As a survivor of Hurricane Dorian, she expressed concerns about the island taking a direct hit, as was predicted by weather experts.
“I wouldn’t say it’s bad, but it’s coming the same time, same structure (as Dorian). It hasn’t reached as yet and in my yard is already filling up with water,” she said.
In preparation for the storm Ms McInnis purchased a generator, canned goods and extra water supplies. She also had developed an emergency plan in the event extraordinary circumstances occurred.
Meanwhile, Krystyan Russell, who works at REV in Grand Bahama, said the company braced for the storm.
Mr Russell assured the public that the company has continuously implemented various measures to better assist their “valued” customers.
He said: “We have two forms of power backups, as we have our generators, which we started prior to the storm arriving so that there is no malfunction if power was to switch over from utility to generator.
“We also have additional eight-hour batteries on every single cell site, so this ensures our network’s stability from a power perspective.
“From a transformation perspective, we have microwave resiliency at all of our key sites, which would of course for any unlikely event that a fibre was to become damaged all of the cell sites on majority of the key cell sites will remain in place,” he added.
He said the company was grateful for the lessons learned from Dorian and he expects that all levels of service will remain stable regardless of Nicole.
Both islands received support on social media as Nicole made its way out of The Bahamas.
“Grand Bahama and Abaco strong,” one Twitter user said.
Another person tweeted, “Grand Bahama and Abaco need a break man.”