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When Was The Last Hurricane In Jamaica?

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hurricane_broken_poleWhen Was The Last Hurricane In Jamaica?

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Some may call it luck, faith or the grace of God, but for almost 20 years Jamaica has fared well during the hurricane season, with little to no impact. ... Or so we may think. However with Hurricane Beryl hurling towards us at a category 4, it has left us pondering... when was the last hurricane in Jamaica?

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So let's do a brief recap of the most recent hurricanes Jamaica has encountered over the last 20 years.

Hurricane Sandy (October 2012)

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy, a Category 1 hurricane, made its presence felt on the eastern end of Jamaica. The storm inflicted severe damage on several homes, businesses, schools, churches, farms, and roads. A notable casualty was Jamaica Producers’ banana crop, with 85% destroyed, severely disrupting the related snack business. Despite the destruction, the resilience of the Jamaican people shone through as they worked together to rebuild and recover.

Tropical Storm Gustav (August 2008)

Tropical Storm Gustav struck in August 2008, bringing with it flooding and landslides. In Kingston, McGregor Gully overflowed, causing widespread flooding. The collapse of the Harbour View bridge added to the chaos. Despite the challenges, resourceful locals turned adversity into opportunity. Men and boys familiar with the river’s workings charged money to help people cross the waters, offering a unique, albeit unconventional, solution. Unfortunately, Gustav claimed 10 lives and left many areas without water and electricity.

Tropical Storm Nicole (2008)

Tropical Storm Nicole brought island-wide flooding, with Sandy Gully near Liguanea, St. Andrew, bearing the brunt. Over a 12-hour period, rainfall measurements exceeded 100 millimetres. Nicole's wrath resulted in 13 deaths, including a tragic incident where three construction workers in Norbrook and a five-year-old girl lost their lives. The storm left 40% of the population without power and caused extensive damage, including the destruction of the historic Savanna-la-Mar Baptist church in Westmoreland.

Hurricane Dean (August 2007)

Hurricane Dean, a Category 5 hurricane, was the first major hurricane of the 2007 Atlantic season. Dean wreaked havoc, particularly in Clarendon, St. Catherine, and Kingston & St. Andrew. With losses amounting to over 23.8 billion Jamaican dollars, the hurricane left 29,000 housing units damaged and inflicted significant damage on the agricultural, education, and health sectors. Despite the destruction, the spirit of the Jamaican people remained unbroken, as they worked tirelessly to rebuild their communities.

Hurricane Wilma (October 2005)

Hurricane Wilma, the 12th hurricane of the 2005 season, brought persistent rainfall and flooding over an eight-day period. The island-wide flooding caused major damage to bridges, roadways, and infrastructure. One man tragically drowned in Clarendon, and many industries were affected by the flood rains. The aftermath of Wilma underscored the need for enhanced infrastructure resilience and better flood management strategies.

Hurricanes Dennis & Emily (2005)

The hurricanes Dennis and Emily collectively resulted in 5.98 billion Jamaican dollars in damages. The transportation industry was hardest hit, with roads and bridges suffering significant damage. The storms claimed seven lives and caused widespread dislocation. The experience of Dennis and Emily highlighted the importance of robust disaster preparedness and community support systems.

Hurricane Ivan (September 2004)

Hurricane Ivan, a Category 4 hurricane, was one of the most devastating storms in Jamaica’s recent history. Making landfall on September 10, Ivan caused extensive damage, particularly in Portland Cottage, Clarendon, which was completely destroyed. The hurricane left 18,000 people homeless, claimed 17 lives, and caused widespread infrastructure damage. Ivan's aftermath was a stark reminder of the island’s vulnerability to powerful storms.

Hurricane Charley (August 2004)

In August 2004, Hurricane Charley brought strong winds and rains, causing significant damage to infrastructure and agriculture. One man tragically lost his life, and the estimated cost of road repairs in the worst-affected parishes was 7 million Jamaican dollars. The storm's impact on the agricultural industry led to a rise in condiment prices, adding to the economic challenges faced by the island.

Hurricane Michelle (2001)

Hurricane Michelle, a Category 4 hurricane, struck in 2001, causing 2.52 billion Jamaican dollars in damages. The transport industry was worst affected, with substantial damage to roadways. Flash flooding and mudslides added to the devastation, resulting in two deaths. Michelle's impact highlighted the need for improved infrastructure and better disaster response strategies.

Perhaps the most significant milestone in our recent hurricane history is the notable absence of disastrous hurricanes since Ivan in 2004. Since then, while storms have continued to threaten our island, improved preparedness measures and early warning systems have played a crucial role in mitigating potential damage. This period of relative calm has allowed us to focus on strengthening our infrastructure and disaster response capabilities, ensuring that our communities are better equipped to face future challenges

As we enjoy a period of relative calm in Jamaica, we are now bracing for the imminent arrival of Hurricane Beryl. Expected to hit today, Wednesday, July 3rd, Beryl is a Category 4 hurricane, bringing with it the potential for significant damage. Residents across the island, including myself, are urged to take all necessary precautions, as the storm promises to test the resilience and preparedness measures that have been strengthened over the years. 

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References & Sources For When Was The Last Hurricane In Jamaica?

  1. History of Hurricanes in Jamaica. (n.d.).
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