5 Key Facts That You Need to Know About Atlantic Hurricanes

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5 Key Facts That You Need to Know About Atlantic Hurricanes

With the public outcry, the repeated requests from my readers and the facts that I directly (Hurricane Harvey in Houston) and indirectly (Hurricane Maria in Dominica and Puerto Rico) experienced two atlantic hurricanes during this hurricane season, I felt the need to develop a “hurricane series”.

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The purposes of this hurricane series are to 1) raise awareness on the multimodal devastating nature of hurricanes as natural disasters (for those who are still underestimating), 2) to share factual information and pictures of the aftermath of hurricane Maria and to 3) give recommendations on how you can provide hurricane relief in Dominica and why not, other areas affected by hurricanes.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a Hurricane expert, and I will keep informing myself and share what I learn with you. Feel free to share your knowledge on this topic as well in an informative manner. But to start with, here are 5 key facts that everyone needs to know about Hurricanes.

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1. Here is the actual definition of a hurricane: a hurricane is a “specific name” for a severe tropical cyclone. According to Wikipedia, a hurricane is “a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain”. In simpler terms, a hurricane is a group of storms that form along a low-pressure center and moved in a circular fashion, and are characterized by heavy strong winds and heavy rains. Depending on where you are, such tropical cyclones are called by different names. However, once a tropical cyclone moves at the sustained wind speed of 74-76 mph (miles per hour), it is considered a hurricane. If a tropical cyclone develops over the Atlantic ocean or northeastern Pacific ocean, it is called a “hurricane”. If it develops over the northwestern Pacific Ocean, it is called a “typhoon”. If it develops over the South Pacific or Indian Ocean, it is called a “cyclone”. 

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2. Hurricanes are Classified According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: a lot of people have heard of hurricane categories 1-5, but the more I speak with people, the more I realize they don’t actually know what it means. And it’s Ok, because I used to “not know” as well. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale assesses hurricane severity based on the sustained wind speed, and this in turns helps to assess the likelihood of property damage. In other terms, the higher the “sustained wind speed”, the more deadly and damaging the hurricane is.

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3. For each country and region prone to hurricanes, hurricanes develop during a particular season, and there is a reason for that: hurricanes basically develop over large water surfaces, and are fueled by the evaporation of water. That being said, in the Caribbean, hurricane season usually starts in June (start of summer) and continues until November. That is when the waters get heated the most.

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4. Global Warming Potentiates Hurricanes: if you didn’t believe it before, believe it now. Think about it: when the oceans are getting heated up by the sun, three things happen, according to fluid dynamics:

a. Water evaporates, condenses and falls back as rain. And the more water evaporates, the more rain will fall, and the cycle goes on.

b. Water also expands in the ocean and occupies a larger surface, and that just gives more room for more water to evaporate and… the cycle continues.

c. More heat produces more energy to fuel the hurricane: based on the points that were made earlier, this makes sense.

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5. Hurricane “Warning” and Hurricane “watch” are issued in islands prone to hurricanes, and these mean different things: do you remember this “74 mph” we spoke about earlier? That is the cut off number that meteorologists use to determine when a cyclone becomes a hurricane. A hurricane watch is issued when you suspect that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) will form in the next 48 hours. So this means “there is a possibility, let’s keep watching but let’s prepare and start taking precautions”.

A hurricane warning is issued when you expect  hurricane conditions develop in the next 36 hours. Therefore, a hurricane warning is issued within 36 hours. This means “it is going to happen, let’s take more aggressive precautions and let’s evacuate”.

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If you learned something in this article, please share. Make sure you subscribe to be notified of my next blog post: “Here is What People Truly die of during Hurricanes”.

Additional resources to keep you informed:

  1. Wikipedia (has almost everything)
  2. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/cyclone.html
  3. https://www.skepticalscience.com/hurricanes-global-warming.htm

Have you ever experienced a hurricane, a tropical cyclone, a tropical depression or a typhoon? Please let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 


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The Freshwater Lake: A New Adventure awaits…

What an exhilarating weekend I had, playing the little tour guide!

A friend of mine (finally) came to Dominica to visit, and it was a great opportunity to show her the things I love about the Nature Isle. Even more so, I got the chance to go to places where I’ve never been before, and do a bit of sightseeing myself! One of these places was the Freshwater Lake. img_9895

The Freshwater Lake is the largest of Dominica’s four lakes (I’ll tell you more about the other 3 when I get the chance to explore them… Stay tuned!). It is located at just over 2,500 ft above sea level and is the original and natural source of the Roseau River. While you read more about the Freshwater lake here, let me go on as I describe our amazing adventure…

The road to the lake is paved with amazing landscape, scenery and “mention-worthy) touristic sites. One of them is the Roseau Valley, which is a point where (from my understanding), you can see the entire town alongside with the riverbed that runs under it.

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The Roseau Valley. The small roofs and houses represent different areas of the city and local neighborhoods. The Roseau river is not displayed in this shot.

We could also see the Morne Trois Pitons (“Mountain with three peaks”), which gave name to one of Dominica’s most iconic national parks, the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. 

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Morne Trois Pitons. View from Laudat.

The Morne Trois Pitons Mountain can be seen at different points on the island, however, I really wanted to get a good picture depicting the three pits of the mountain. And it was amazing. And totally worth the multiple shots.

Regarding the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, it is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site to be legally established on the Nature Isle (1997). The park is a significant area of volcanic activity and features key natural wonders such as the Valley of Desolation, the Boiling Lake first largest lake in Dominica), the Emerald Pool and Titou Gorge. I will tell you more about these other attractions in my upcoming series, “Morne Trois Pitons National Park: the adventure continues…

For now, let’s keep going.

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Here we are! We finally made it to the entrance, it was the beginning of the adventure.

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Before proceeding, I had to make sure I took a picture first… Holding a “Morne Trois Pitons” bottle of mineral water 🙂

Along the way, we stumbled upon a refreshing water fountain, and it felt like a moment that should be captured…

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When you enter the village of Laudat, a cool and refreshing breeze welcomes you right away. My local friends (and co-tourist guides) added that it’s always cool and chilly in Laudat, which, alongside with the touristic attractions of that community, is another aspect that makes it so unique.

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The road to the Fresh water Lake is accessible by walking and also driving. We had a long day ahead, so it seemed wise to save some time and drive.

And there we were, at crossroads: certain about where each path would lead, but uncertain about where we should go…

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Crossroads: where should we go?

We eventually agreed to save the Boeri Lake (another one of the largest lakes in Dominica) for another day.

We finally arrived at the Freshwater lake’s location within the Morne Trois Pitons National Park.

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There is a small fee to contribute to enter the area, which gives you access to the Freshwater lake and the principal activity that takes place there: kayaking. 

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Have you ever tasted Rosemary Rum? I didn’t even know that such a thing existed! In Dominica, you’ll discover everything. I did find however, that the way in which they use and reuse natural herbs and spices for different purposes (even seemingly uncanny ones) is fascinating. You should try it when you get the chance 🙂

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We finally got to the “F” part of fun! We were a total of 4, so we had to use 2 Kayaks as they only hold 2 persons each. We had to carry our own Kayaks to the lake (a 5-mns walk), which I didn’t particularly like. I would have appreciated it more if there was actually someone to help us carry them, given that they were quite heavy. I dreaded the moment where we would have to carry it back to the shore when done. Luckily I wasn’t alone, but still… 🙁

These picture features two of my special friends on the Nature Isle, who were also my co-tour guides on that day (actually they were the real tour guides, all I did was taking pictures… as you can see).

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And here we were! The experience was quite unique: the wind was refreshing, the water was “fresh” (yes, the lake lives up to its name), and the feeling of being in charge of and navigating tour own kayak was pretty cool:) Taking this further, I think this could also be a unique team building experience:

Tip: when on the lake, there’s a possibility that you’ll get wet. So if you want to take any pictures, I’d recommend doing so before you go ahead. Or take things that you’re willing to… let go off in the event that they get wet!

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It was epic, to be, once again, one with Nature. <3

Stay tuned (by following my blog and/connecting with me via social media to discover my upcoming series: Morne Trois Pitons National Park: the adventure continues…

 


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10 Things I Learned from Living on the Nature Isle, Dominica.

I come from a culture where I was taught that nothing worth having comes easy.

From a very young age, I knew that it was paramount for me to work hard to get where I want to go and become who I want to be. That principle has instilled in me a sense of discipline and hardwork that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

However, I have been so busy working that I never ever time to get to the “living” part of life. What is the point of spending all your time working and having none left to celebrate the fruit of your work? I never really realized what a counterproductive cycle I was living in until I moved to Dominica, where I discovered these 10 life facts.

1. Nature is free. Be like Nature. 

This refers to the nature that surrounds us, and the nature of things within us. One of the best things I have experienced living in Dominica, the Nature Isle, is the ability to get in touch directly with nature: original, pure, untainted, unstained. Not only can you experience it internally, but also internally with the availability of fruits and vegetables, all year long. There are always fruits and veggies for every season, and you get them straight from the ground into your body. Sounds a lot like Eden to me!  And if you really want to know what it feels like to get a “breath of fresh air”, then come to Dominica.

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2. Life is a party, so dance while you’re still an invited guest.

“We never know what the future may bring: it could be winter, summer, fall or spring” (By Marie Pascale Affana) . So you’ve got to dance, sing, shout, eat while you still can, because you don’t know if you’ll be able to do that tomorrow. So why wait to be happy tomorrow when you can be happy today? Don’t procrastinate on your happiness. Happiness doesn’t wait.

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3. Seize the Day. 

This saying has had such a great impact on my life that I bought a mug (my “now” favorite mug) to remind me of this every day. I won’t tell you that everyday is a gift, because you probably already know it. I also won’t tell you to live everyday like it’s your last, because I don’t know how to do that (not even sure if that’s realistic) and I wouldn’t want to spend a day thinking about how I’d live my last day. However, what I’d like to share with you is this: everyday comes with a new set of 24 hours, 60 minutes and 86 400 seconds, and the power is in your hands to decide on what you want to do with it. So take it. Take the Power. Take the Frigging Power.  

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4. Listen to your needs… and attend to them. Your body is comparable to a machine or an engine that needs regular care and servicing to function efficiently. When you feel sleepy and tired, your body needs to re-set. When you feel hungry, your body needs to re-charge. When you feel angry and cranky, your body needs to re-lax. Often times, we tend to ignore those needs and hope they will pass. I have learned to pay a close attention to the messages that my body, my emotions and my whole being are sending. And instead of giving it a quick fix, I have actually learned to address them accordingly. Most of the time (as you would have figured from reading my blog and past posts), the message is hunger (because I am a foodie), and there is no better to address hunger than to eat. 🙂

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Breakfast with a view. Buena Vista, Calibishie (Dominica)

5. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.

I am so proud of the person I’ve become. If you had known me a few years ago, I’d have probably been the most uptight person in your friends circle (my current friends actually have a hard time believing that because of how silly I’ve turned out). And this doesn’t make me any less smart or capable than I was before. In fact, being silly give me a different approach to life, and makes me more open-minded to different ideas. Obviously, it’s important to know which cap to wear (silly or serious) based on the situation, but I can guarantee you that 90% of your day does not require you to be this serious. So don’t take life so seriously. None of us is getting out of here alive anyways.

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Dominica Carnival, Powder Fete – 2016

6. Do More of what Makes you Happy.

We are all called to live a life of service. And if you just take the time to observe your life, you’ll realize that too. Whether you are a gardener, a chef, a lawyer or a doctor, whatever you do ends up helping someone, directly or indirectly. So, we are constantly being of service to our fellow humans. However, before you can take care of (or provide service to) someone else, you have to take care of yourself. The reason being, you can only provide the best service when you are at your best, and for you to be at “your best”, you have to be happy. So do more of what makes you happy. Find your Happy. 

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7. Celebrate Small Successes!

Goal-oriented people tend to be very focused on the task at hand and do not stop until they have accomplished whatever it is they had set their heart and mind on. That is great, because it helps you keep the focus. However, what would be even greater would be to look back at how far you’ve gone and celebrate your progress as a way to motivate you to even go further. Are you in college? Don’t wait for your big graduation day to celebrate your accomplishment: be proud of yourself for making it to the next semester. Are you in medical school? Don’t wait for the day you finally become a Doctor to give yourself a tap yourself on the back. Are you working on a special project? Don’t wait for the last day, but celebrate every successful milestone.

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8. Be Daring. 

A wise woman once told me that you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take, and that wise woman is my mother. More, every time you take a risk, there is a 50% chance of it ending into a positive or a negative result. So why deny yourself of the 50% chance of whatever you want actually happening? And what’s worse than missing a shot? Not taking it. So take a chance! The worse that could happen is you getting a NO, which means Next Opportunity. 🙂 For my part, every time I take a shot, I succeed, because I believe I am going to succeed even before I take that chance.

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Performing with Michele Henderson at the World Creole Music Festival (Dominica, 2016).My sister (on the right side) was having a ball of a time. Photocredist: Zaimis Olmos Visual Arts.

9. Show Love to Your Friends, as often as you Can.

A wise woman once told me something deep enough to be reflected upon: our friends and family members are not ours, they do not belong to us. In fact, they belong to God and He only lends them to us for a specific purpose (whatever it may be), until He calls them back when He needs them. (That wise woman is my mother, and I seriously think she will start billing me for using all her quotes in this article).

So, we need to value the time we spend with them because we never know when He would call them back. We also need to show them love and appreciation because as human beings, we all need this. I am not asking you to tell all your friends that you love them everyday (which could be quite a task actually 🙂 and they might not all be receptive to your words, because we all speak different love languages (and thus, we have different ways of expressing our love). Rather, show your appreciation to each one of your friends in a way that he/she would like to receive it. (I guess it’s time to go through that list of 1000+ friends you have on Facebook ^_^)

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10. Work on your Resting Face. 

Everyone has what we call a “resting face”, and that is basically the state of your face at rest. When you are in the bus (or driving), on your way to work (or school) in the morning, pay attention to the people around you, and see what their resting face is like. Some people look angry (even if they are not), others very pensive, others extremely serious and others quite happy. The thing with your resting face is, it does not always depict your emotion “at the time, but it is the default state in which your face goes when there is no emotion to depict at all. So if the majority of your time, you are angry or anxious, your face is going to get used to that constant emotion, to the point where even when you are in a good mood, you still look mad (and not mad happy, more like “mad mad”). That is one of the reasons why some people are perceived as “less approachable” than others. So make sure you control your resting face, as well as the message it sends. (As you can see in the picture below… I have several resting faces. That’s because I am still working on those!)

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The inspiration for this article comes from a heart of gratitude and an amazing change in perspective. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting these thoughts into words.

All pictures were taken by a wide variety of amazing people, but at the same location: The Nature Isle, Dominica. 

PS: I will soon start an article series specifically for my travels, tours and sightseeing experience throughout the Nature Isle, Dominica. If you live there, feel free to contact me and contribute! If this is a destination you’d like to visit, make sure you subscribe to follow the upcoming series!

Either way, subscribe to this blog to make sure you keep seeing amazing content!

Cheers,

Clem 😉


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