Hurricane Gilbert In Jamaica 1988 - Memories & Facts

by Wellesley

The Path Of Hurricanee Gilbert In 1988

The Path Of Hurricanee Gilbert In 1988

The Path Of Hurricanee Gilbert In 1988
Hurricane Gilbert In Jamaica
Impact Of Hurricane Gilbert In Jamaica 1988

I was listening to our RJR this morning, on of the local radio stations in Jamaica and was reminded of the calamity brought on the island by the infamous Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, September 12.

I was a boy then, just turned 11 - now you know my age :-)

But I remember the scare that night.

A number of us huddled in my grandma's (Mammy) house. Of course, there wasn't much sleep - we couldn't.

By the way, that was in the hills of Westmoreland where I grew up.

We could hear the powerful winds, breaking branches, trees uprooting and zinc sheets flying! Of course there were all sort of other sounds I can't explain.

It was also pear (avocado) season, so we could hear them falling throughout the night!

We survived though, to God be the Glory.

There was some leaks from the zinc roofing about nothing major.

Many of our community neighbours were not so lucky though, as some of their houses lost entire roofs - totally!

Other families had to rush to neighbours and hurricane shelters for refuge.

It was quite an experience I tell you! In the morning, you could smell the damage.

For the first time, we could see distances we never saw before- everywhere was just bare.

I remember we picked up over two drums/barrels of pears that fell from the trees! Most of them were pretty fit too!

(We had a number of pear trees around the yard)

My dad loved pears; I remember him coming down (from Montego Bay) to check on the family a couple of days after; I watched him devour a number of the ripe - right there out of the drums :-)

Hurricane Gilbert has certainly left a lasting memory for those of use who were fortunate (or unfortunate) to experience it.


  1. Gilbert was the first hurricane in 37 years to hit Jamaica directly then.
  2. Gilbert was deemed to be the most destructive hurricane int he history of Jamaica and the most severe since Hurricane Charlie in 1951.
  3. Damage was estimated to b over 4 billion Jamaican dollars
  4. Forty five persons died from Jamaica
  5. Over 90% of all health facilities suffered damage
  6. Over 800,000, approximately, 30% of Jamaicans then, sought shelters (outside of their homes)
  7. It took several months for water, electricity and telephone services to be restored across Jamaica
  8. A one-month State of Public Emergency was declared for St Thomas, St Catherine, and Kingston and St Andrew.
  9. As a result of the extensive damage caused by Gilbert, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name in the spring of 1989; it was replaced with Gordon
  10. The eye measured about 15 miles across. Wind speeds averaging 75 miles per hour (mph) gusting to 127 mph were recorded in the Kingston Metropolitan Area. As the eye exited western Jamaica at 6 p.m., it intensified further (888 millibars).
  11. It was also the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin, until Hurricane Wilma surpassed it during 2005.
  12. In total, Hurricane Gilbert killed 433 people along its path (45 persons in Jamaica) and caused about $7.1 billion (1988 USD) in damages over the course.


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Note: To learn more about hurricanes in Jamaica and the general climate of Jamaica, click here

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