Storm Update: How Is St. Lucia Faring in Tomas' Wake?
November 4, 2010
Tweet (1:50 p.m. EDT) -- St. Lucia continues to clean up in the wake of Tomas, which struck the southern Caribbean island as a strong Category 1 hurricane October 30-31 and forced the closure of the popular port to cruise ships until November 7. Ships originally scheduled to make stops at the island have been forced to rearrange their plans; check here for a full list of itinerary changes. Tomas, currently a tropical storm packing winds of 45 mph, is now menacing Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and the southern Bahamas. On St. Lucia, the storm resulted in "fallen trees, infrastructural damage to buildings, damage to major roads consequentially restricting access to various areas and temporary loss of utility services across the island," reads a joint statement by the St. Lucia Tourist Board and the St. Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association. BBC News is reporting at least 14 confirmed deaths, many from landslides. While Castries and Soufriere had been cut off from the rest of the island, "major roads have been cleared and the Castries-Vieux Fort and Soufriere-Vieux Fort thoroughfares are now fully motorable," according to Senator Allen Chastanet, Saint Lucia's tourism and civil aviation minister, in a statement from the Office of the Minister of Tourism. Water and electricity have also been concerns, with posters on Storm Carib -- a community forum about hurricanes in the Caribbean -- worried about damage to the island's main dam and the inability to access clean water. However, the Minister of Tourism's statement indicates that 90 percent of the island will have electricity by the weekend, and the water supply will be restored soon, as "detailed inspections revealed damage to the water dam is substantially less than expected." The tourist board expects that the country and its tourist offerings will be back to normal by November 5, a week earlier than originally predicted. When cruise travelers return two days later, they'll be able to visit both the north and south ends of the island. A tourism board representative tells us that popular attractions -- like Rainforest Sky Rides, Diamond Botanical Gardens and Mamiku Gardens -- will be open for visitors, and that the northern beaches have not been impacted and will also be available for cruise passenger use next week. Additional good news is that both airports have reopened, and most hotels received no structural damage. --by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor