Hurricane Hugo – 1989

Hurricane Hugo PR

Our house at 28A Nimitz Drive at the height of the storm. The image was taken by our neighbor from the safety of their house across the street.

Hurricane Hugo thirty years ago today. The eye of powerful Hurricane Hugo swept over the central U.S. Virgin Islands and the eastern coast of Puerto Rico on the morning of September 18, 1989. Here’s our house at the height of the hurricane as the winds whipped to a nearly sustained 100 mph with gusts to 120 mph. The house sat on the highest hill in base housing on the Naval Station Roosevelt Roads (Ceiba, Puerto Rico) overlooking the Carribean Sea. At this point of the storm, our carport roof had blown away (as did the backyard porch roof) and the living room window on the side had blown in. Our tan GMC Jimmy and blue VW bug somehow managed to make it through the storm with only minor paint damage from the sandblasting of the winds. The upstairs front window blew in a little bit after this picture was taken when the winds shifted around as the eye passed.

Of course, many areas of the base were heavily damaged or completely destroyed but the islands of St. Croix, Vieques and Culebra were essentially leveled. Hugo went on to deliver a powerful hit to South Carolina a few days later.

Our daughter had just turned six months old in September so we had evacuated to Florida less than 36 hours prior to landfall (actually the last flight out on American Airlines from San Juan to Miami).


Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

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Amazing hurricane – but not in a good way!

storm 9-2

Radar image out of Nassau, Bahamas at approximately 11 AM Sep 2. The eye of Hurricane Dorian continues to spin just over the central coast of Grand Bahama Island.

I’ve been a professional meteorologist since 1975 and while in the US Navy serving on various ships over twenty-two years I’ve encountered my share of strong hurricanes and typhoons. I’ve tracked and made forecasts for hundreds of tropical systems and have seen first hand just how powerful they are and the destruction they cause. I’ve experienced a few hurricanes that have gone stationary before but this one, Hurricane Dorian is amazing to me for just how long it’s been nearly stationary over the central part of Grand Bahama Island while maintaining its Cat 5 status (now downgraded to Cat 4) as of this post.

This is the latest forecast from the NWS National Hurricane Center as of 11 AM on September 2, 2019. Optimistically the forecast track shows Dorian well northwest of its present location in less than 22 hours and by Tuesday morning at 8 AM it could be about 60 to 80 miles further north-northwest from where it is now. The hope is that a broad trough of low pressure now over the central US will start to influence the storm and take it away from a direct strike on the east coast of Florida over the next 2 to 3 days.


Official position and forecast track of Hurricane Dorian from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. 11 AM Sep 2.

I would like to see some slight movement of the center to the north or northwest over the next few hours for the forecast track to verify. Here’s hoping!


Pretty little garden bell… a small reminder of mom.


A recent post by a friend and fellow blogger, Aunt JoAnn, made me think about some long put away bells that my mom collected (small collection thankfully)! Pretty little bells from her travels. Others collected postcards and various trinkets as souvenirs, but for my mom, it was always bells. Oh the bells! The bells!


This little bell is only 3 inches tall and about 2.5 inches at the base. It often sat near our dining table so it naturally became an unofficial dinner bell. It has a lovely soft “tinkle” sound.


The colors are beautiful and the flowers are lovely. It’s one of her prettiest bells.


We don’t collect bells and really have no place to display them. When your parents have passed you naturally inherit their collections of things and when your children don’t want these items (no room for them even if they wanted them) we’re left with what to do with them.

It’s a shame really, but the reality is that as we age our children will be faced with the same problems we’re facing now… no room in our downsized homes for such stuff. So what to do with the things that tie us to our past. No easy answers – we’re reminded just how fragile life is and how our homes are almost always in some sort of danger (Hurricane Harvey and the flooding). We lost some very personal items when Hurricane Hugo (1989) roared across Puerto Rico trashing our home. We were gone, our cats were safe but many things (from my mom) were destroyed (including some of her bells) in the rains that blew through our broken windows.

So that brings me to thinking about the latest disaster in Texas and along the Gulf Coast… some people lost their lives, families are torn apart, some will lose their jobs forever, their stuff is wet and in some cases swept away in the flood – damaged and destroyed. But they will have memories of the better times and hopefully will be able to put their lives back together again.

It’s amazing how one post in a lovely blog can help to recall some cherished memories. The power of words and the gift of memory.

Chris ^.^