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 terrifying sounds I can't explain.
It was also pear (avocado) season, so we could hear them falling like bullets throughout the night!
We survived though, to God be the Glory.
There were some leaks from the zinc roofing but 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 neighbors 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 later; 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.
HERE ARE SOME INSIGHTFUL FACTS ABOUT HURRICANE GILBERT IN JAMAICA!
Gilbert was the first hurricane in 37 years to hit Jamaica directly then.
Gilbert was deemed to be the most destructive hurricane int he history of Jamaica and the most severe since Hurricane Charlie in 1951.
Damage was estimated to be over 4 billion Jamaican dollars
Forty five persons died here in Jamaica
Over 90% of all health facilities suffered damage
Over 800,000, approximately, 30% of Jamaicans then, sought shelters (outside of their homes)
It took several months for water, electricity and telephone services to be restored across Jamaica
A one-month State of Public Emergency was declared for St Thomas, St Catherine, and Kingston and St Andrew.
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
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).
It was also the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin by that time.
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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