Hurricane Lenny - 1999
The irony, of course, was that Hurricane Lenny was really not close to Dominica at all: we’ve had closer brushes with bigger storms. But in terms of impact, it was spectacular. I spoke with one villager who said he’d never seen waves higher in his 80 years, not even for Hurricane David. Many properties close to the sea were affected; many low-lying west coast roads became part of the beach for a while. But because we have been through it all before, we will be able to bounce back quickly; indeed, the clean-up operation began as soon as it became light on Thursday morning.
Fortunately, the whale watching and dive boat fleet had been moved to safety. While these photos show some spectacular damage, it was limited to just certain parts of the west coast.
The rest of Dominica carried on as usual. If they suffered any damage to their rooms or facilities, hoteliers and watersports operators found suitable alternate accommodation for their guests. As a result of this, visitors to Dominica were able to enjoy all of the activities which they had planned for the 1999-2000 season.
High seas and driving rains began to affect Dominica on Wednesday 17th, as Lenny passed to the north-west. Many west coast roads were beginning to be awash with waves and covered by debris thrown by the sea; some were forced to close for a while.
By late afternoon, while the weather was simply overcast, the extent of the damage from the sea became clear… Canefield Airport was closed for 24 hours because the sea was washing up on the runway… Scott’s Head-Soufriere road was impassable… reports of houses along the south-west coast being washed away…
Thursday morning: After a night of pounding seas people inspect the damage, and begin the clean-up operation. Shown left: the main road next to Pottersville Savannah.
For a while on Thursday, the road south to Soufriere from this point in Pointe Michele was blocked – by a house washed onto it!
This is, or was, the road between Scott’s Head and Soufriere… But within a couple of weeks this was drivable!
Loubiere, Thursday morning – “Who parked their boat in my yard?’
Friday morning: starting the clean up in Soufriere.