Categorized | National News

Tornado Impacts Abaco Properties- 12 People Displaced

Four properties were impacted in Murphy Town, Abaco after a tornado struck the island last week.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the four properties that were impacted were a duplex, where the lower panels of a door were blown out and the roof suffered minor damage, a triplex, where a roof was blown off, a laundromat with an apartment, where the roof was damaged and the Abaco Block and Concrete Company.

NEMA Director Captain Stephen Russell, Structural Engineer of the Ministry of Public Works William Krezel and Transport and Leading Mechanic Sydney Larrimore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Technical Department did an assessment of the damage last week.

“The team discovered that four properties were clearly impacted by a severe weather system, which passed through the islands of Bimini, Grand Bahama, Abaco and adjacent waters. The Met Department had issued a warning of a thunderstorm, which can cause strong gusty winds, dangerous lightning, heavy downpour and possible tornadic activity,” NEMA said in a press release issued Monday.

“The structural engineer examined the integrity of the remainder structure of the triplex to determine its suitability for living. The 12 inhabitants have been temporarily relocated with the assistance of the Department of Social Services.”

NEMA said production of the Abaco Block and Concrete Company has been compromised due to damage to its building, equipment and vehicles.

Officials said the manager noted that it could take at least three weeks to be back in operation.

However the storm did more damage, according to NEMA.

“The assessment team noted a jeep tangled in heavy duty power lines, a 4,000 gallon fuel tank appeared to have been tossed into the air and landed about 500 feet away from its original location,” the release said.

While saying that officials are happy that there were no fatalities, Captain Russell also issued safety tips for residents.

“Look and listen for large hailstones, heavy rain, strong winds, frequent intense lightning bolts with rotary motion at the base of a thunderstorm cloud with loud roaring sounds like jet or train. Seek safe shelter – a basement is best, otherwise choose ground floor centre rooms surrounded by other rooms. Never choose upstairs because tornadic winds and speeds increase with height above the ground,” he said.

He continued, “Choose rooms on the north and east sides of your shelter if no interior rooms are available. Stay near the innermost walls. Avoid rooms on the south and west because tornados usually travel from southwest to northeast. Choose a small closet or bathroom because small rooms are less susceptible to collapse. Take shelter within the bathtub if there are no glass tub enclosures or large mirrors nearby.

“Protect yourself and families by staying calm, seek shelter immediately, keep a portable TV/radio and flashlight in your shelter, wear shows to protect your feet from broken glass and other debris left in the wake of the storm, protect head and chest by crouching face to floor with hands behind your head, cover yourself with blankets, pillows or coat, hide under sturdy furniture and avoid candles, gas lanterns and oil lamps.”

Captain Russell said that while at a school or in an office, seek designated shelter in the interior rooms or hallways on the ground floor or lowest floor possible.

“Avoid auditoriums and gymnasiums. In shopping malls, seek smaller interior shops on the ground floor and avoid large open rooms as well as the south and west walls. Evacuate mobile vehicles and seek shelter in substantial structure, ditch or culvert,” he said.

Kendea Smith

Written by Kendea Smith

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