Hurricanes. Extreme weather events that can strike anywhere in the world’s vulnerable zones. But where are these to be found? And in those zones, is there any historical evidence demonstrating that particular areas of the world are more vulnerable than others? A recent post on the very informative ABACO SCIENTIST website includes a comprehensive map of all hurricanes recorded since 1851. This map gives a clear picture of the hot-spots and danger areas. 

Delphi Club Abaco 25 Aug 2011 / Hurricane Irene: Looking south from the balcony

The source is NASA and the article may be found HERE. I reproduce the map and explanation, with acknowledgement to John Nelson and IDV Solutions. Each blue link in the explanation below will take you to a new source of hurricane information, so the article is a valuable resource as a gateway to further hurricane knowledge.


“Should you be worried about hurricanes? To find out, it is useful to know where hurricanes have gone in the past. The Earth map shows the path of every hurricane reported since 1851, Although striking, a growing incompleteness exists in the data the further one looks back in time. The Earth map graphically indicates that hurricanes — sometimes called cyclones or typhoons depending on where they form — usually occur over water, which makes sense since evaporating warm water gives them energy. The map also shows that hurricanes never cross — or even occur very near — the Earth’s equator, since the Coriolis effect goes to zero there, and hurricanes need the Coriolis force to circulate. The Coriolis force also causes hurricane paths to arc away from the equator. Although incompleteness fogs long term trends and the prevalence of hurricanes remains a topic of research, evidence is accumulating that hurricanes are, on the average, more common and more powerful in the North Atlantic Ocean over the past 20 years.”

Image Credit & Copyright: John Nelson, IDV Solutions

The eye of Hurricane Irene passes directly over the Delphi Club, Abaco 26 August 2011

The image below was shared on Facebook, but I don’t have the inventor’s name. I’m sorry not to be able to identify the originator of this ingenious hurricane warning. Every home should have one… 


                    ABACO, BAHAMAS & HURRICANE IRENE                         A SCIENTIFIC RETROSPECTIVE

The contents of this post must be credited at the outset to the excellent website UNIVERSE TODAY and NASA where you can easily get Lost in Space for an eon or two. 

For 1o days at the end of August / in early September, the rh wildlife focus was supplanted by intensive weather blogging about Hurricane Irene from an Abaco perspective – the approach, direct journey north over the island, real-time reports and images of the storm and its aftermath, communication links and so forth. All from a safe distance of 4250 miles. On 26 August alone, this small blog – average daily hits 20 – had over 5000 hits…

3 months on, I have decided to revisit Hurricane Irene and the Bahamas because there is still a great deal of interest out there – I still get plenty of hits for the ‘storm posts’ – and much more available information. Some of these UNIVERSE TODAY / NASA images & videos are truly spectacular. The focus is on the 3 days August 24 – 26: before, during and after Abaco was struck by the storm


August 24, 2011 14.55 EDT Irene (taken by the GOES satellite) approaching the Bahamas. It now has a distinct eye and the clouds spiraling around the center are becoming more compact. The image also shows how large Irene has become, measuring several hundred kilometers across 

August 24, 2011 15:10 p.m. EDT View of Hurricane Irene from the International Space Station 230 miles above the Bahamas, moving northwest as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph, expected to strengthen to a Category 4 storm imminently

August 25 2011  8.00 EDT Hurricane Irene 65 miles east-southeast of Nassau, Bahamas. Irene’s top sustained winds remain at 115 mph, moving to the northwest at 13 mph

August 25 2011 16.30 EDT Hurricane Irene from the International Space Station, clearing the Bahamas and heading north towards the US coast


1. HOW DOES A HURRICANE FORM? Insight into the process can be gleaned by watching a rapid time lapse movie of the formation of Hurricane Irene as it sweeps northwards across the Caribbean region

2. HURRICANE IRENE FROM CARIBBEAN TO CANADA This astounding NASA video tracks the path of Hurricane Irene from August 23 to August 29, showing the formation in the Caribbean region, the path over Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas and the US East Coast northwards to Canada 

3. HURRICANE IRENE IN 20 SECONDS (NOAA/ GOES) A psychedelic trip

CREDITS for images, videos and text (as adapted) go to the websites of UNIVERSE TODAY,  NASA and GOES PROJECT (NASA)



[Note: this post replaces the preliminary, typo-ridden and imageless draft that subscribers may have received, for which I stupidly pressed the ‘publish’ button rather than ‘save draft’… Not the 1st time, either… Sorry] 

Scientist Caroline Stahala has spent 10 years researching the Abaco population of the Bahama parrot. Her aim is to develop understanding of their behaviour so that conservation and management strategies for this rare sub-species can be optimised. Particular protection problems arise because Abaco parrots, uniquely, nest underground. Their main vulnerability is to predation by feral cats, racoons and rodents which kill adults, chicks and fledglings in the nest

Predator monitoring and control programs have been in place for several years, removing surprising numbers of feral cats prior to and during the breeding season. Prevention techniques have been refined as predation data has accumulated. In 2011 for the first time motion-sensitive cameras were used, positioned near the openings of vulnerable active nests (shallow or with large openings), monitored 24/7 with infra-red night-time flash. Constant technical adjustments were needed to determine optimum filming distance and memory card size, and to avoid ‘false triggers’ (eg wind)

A great deal of vital data was collected, particularly at night when predation can’t otherwise be effectively monitored. Feral cats were the most frequent visitors, followed by rodents. No racoons were recorded, so these may be less of a threat than expected. One northern mockingbird (above) was caught on film up to no good. It it seems that the camera flash itself may act as a deterrent, something that bears further study. There is also new evidence that some predators approach a nest and ‘case the joint’ for later use. All this data will make it possible to target predator control preventatively, rather than in the sad aftermath of predation – a great step forward. 

Overall, during the 2011 breeding season none of 55 nests monitored was lost due to predation. In previous years, the attrition rates have been around 25%. The use of cameras avoids any disturbance of the parrots and chicks and provides round-the-clock monitoring. If the cameras / flash are in themselves deterrents, that is a simple method of predation control. The new banding project means that it is now possible to be certain whether same parrot (or pair) is using the same nest cavity each year – and of course individuals can more readily be identified

Finally, Caroline confirms that the parrots weathered Hurricane Irene well.  She was still monitoring the breeding territory then, and when she returned to check active nests after the storm, she found the chicks and fledglings safe in their nest cavities 

Abaco Parrot chick safe and sound - the first post-Irene image


Michelle, a resident of Green Turtle Cay who contacted me just after Irene had hit, has emailed this update of the situation there. I’m still getting searches from people asking for news on GTC, so I’m posting this now – there may be some images to add in due course. I have a feeling that many people outside Abaco / Bahamas have no idea that the comms are still down over many areas 6 weeks later, and that the great repair and clean up continues

“Thankfully everyone is fine except for the continuous cleaning up and trying to restore the phone service.  I hear BATELNET has been sold by the gov. So there is now one hapless phone line repairman scampering around trying to get all the lines drained of water and serviceable… Irene came in on both sides and on high tide (as usual… remember Floyd?). It would have been good to have been able to receive news in the US while Irene was approaching the chain, but typical that unless it directly concerns [the US], you have to have other news sources. The patience of Bahamians is simply amazing!”

Although I have stood down from temporary hurricane-watch commentary, I will continue to post with news from individual areas for as long as I am getting online queries. All credit to WordPress for the detailed daily stats breakdowns…



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Charlotte Dunn has posted a report of events at Sandy Point in August on the BBMRO site. Her account includes photos of Hurricane Irene as it passed over Sandy Point, and of some of the damage in the aftermath 

For the direct link to Charlotte’s  blog  CLICK DOLPHIN ===>>> 

Hurricane Irene on its way towards Abaco, directly in its path …Image credit BMMRO


                                                           Click me!                                                                                                          ©Brigitte Bower Carey

I have been in touch with Brigitte Bower Carey from Tilloo Cay, whose cheerful painting of a Sergeant Major graces the usual rh Logo space above. She has kindly sent an update on the post-Irene situation on Tilloo, and a couple of images showing the effects of the storm on foliage. Luckily, it sounds as though the birdlife is ok in the aftermath. But no phone, a month after…

“Everything is good here – the house and we weathered the storm just fine. The dock is a mess, but is repairable. Nothing at all like most of the south facing docks on our island and our neighbouring island, Lubber’s Quarters – only the poles survived there. So we are grateful. Still cleaning up, the yard was in bad shape, but it is coming along… Communications are a weak point here after the storms – we still don’t have our phone back.

Abaco is starting to look like in spring time now, because a lot of the foliage got burned in the 140 mph gusts of Irene. So now all of the surviving trees are pushing out new leaves, plus all the rain has helped revive things. But nothing at all like after Floyd – when we came home in November ’99 there was not a leaf on any tree, and no birds at all. So we are considering ourselves very lucky now”. 



Both images © Brigitte Bower Carey


I have been in touch with Mim at ARKWILD to find out the latest news on the Abaco Barbs, and in particular how things are after Hurricane Irene. She has kindly sent a brief update which speaks for itself – not very optimistic-sounding, I’m afraid: 

“Horses did fine, but we are down to the three mares inside, and one, possibly still two, stallions outside, we’re still fighting but it’s hard to paint this picture in pretty colors right now  . . .”

Mim has also sent the link to a dramatic 4 minute video which includes vivid footage of Hurricane Irene’s power as it passes over on August 25; and the aftermath on August 26 with graphic footage of damage, debris and flooding. Luckily the mares in the compound and her dogs were ok. Her boat home, well secured before Irene struck, still had various parts including its solar panels blown off, which she was fortunately able to recover by diving for them!