Remembering Hurricane Sandy: October 23, 2012
RETRACING HURRICANE SANDY: Each day on theweathernetwork.com we will retrace the path and events that led to Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New Jersey on October 29, 2012. Read Tuesday's introduction to the storm here and come back tomorrow to read about Hurricane Sandy's landfall near Kingston, Jamaica.
OCTOBER 23, 2012: A HONEYMOON IN "PARADISE?"
The wedding was over, our bags were packed and we couldn't wait to board the plane for our first holiday as a married couple.
The beautiful island of Jamaica was somewhere neither of us have ever visited, so it was an easy decision to book our trip there.
Realizing we'd be travelling during the peak of hurricane season, we felt better knowing the last time Jamaica took a direct hit was from Hurricane Gilbert, 24 years prior.
A true honeymoon in paradise...or so we thought!
Our flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica was scheduled for the early afternoon on October 23, the same time a hurricane warning was issued for the entire island.
Nervously checking for delays or cancellations, our flight took off from Toronto Pearson International Airport on time.
Unsure of what we were about to arrive to, the wedding glow and excitement was enough to ease our fears. That, and the welcoming staff at Montego Bay airport.
"Welcome to Jamaica Mon!," we heard with big smiles on their faces-- the threat of Sandy seemed to be a distant worry or concern.
We heard the Jamaican lifestyle was pretty laid back, but we didn't expect such a calm arrival with a big, nasty hurricane on the way.
The rain started to pick up on our bus ride to the resort, which for the record, was scarier than the hurricane experience itself!
Jamaica's Sandals Whitehouse resort was highly recommended as the perfect luxury vacation and an amazing place to celebrate our honeymoon.
Feeling slightly disappointed when we first arrived, we soon realized (and appreciated) that the hurricane preparations were well underway.
The restaurants were boarded up and lounge chairs sunk in the pool, with the storm's track maps and latest information posted all over the resort.
According to U.S. forecasters, the storm was predicted to drop as much as 250 mm of rain, especially over the central and eastern parts of Jamaica. Dangerous flash floods and mudslides set off by Sandy were a threat for the island of roughly 2.7 million inhabitants, Jamaica's meteorological service said.
Still feeling protected and well informed by all of the staff, we learned Sandy had strengthened with landfall expected near Kingston on Wednesday.
The island's international airports prepared to close, cruise ships changed their itineraries and police ordered 48-hour curfews in major towns to keep people off the streets.
It was time to hunker down in our suite and wait out the storm as pelting rains and howling winds started knocking at our door.
It certainly wasn't the start of the honeymoon we expected, but thanks to all of the friendly and supportive people of Jamaica, Sandy is just another part of our "happily ever after."
We were truly the lucky ones considering the devastation and destruction that Hurricane Sandy left in the days to follow...
TOMORROW ON THE WEB: Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in Jamaica.