At our volunteer farm in Vieques, La Finca de Hamberto, we prepare once again for a tropical storm. This weekend we are expecting Tropical Storm Laura to make landfall. We have prepped the volunteer house and pre-checked the solar systems around the island of Vieques, ready to be used in case it is needed.
We assessed 4 solar sights prior to the storm, including home systems, nonprofit Vieques En Rescate, and public centers. We also assisted in preparation of the Office of Emergency Management (OMME) trailer. In addition addition to this emergency trailer, the island of Vieques has 6 sites available for solar charging. At the senior center, panels were removed to prevent damage.
After Hurricane Isaiah in late July, Sail Relief Team’s volunteers at assisted in clean-up of several roads, checked local emergency services to ensure they had electricity, and drove to the airport to assist in runway cleanup if necessary.
Thankfully, the storm mostly dumped much needed rain on the island, while winds were not strong enough to cause major damage. Unfortunately, Hurricane Isaiah then moved to the Eastern coast of the continental United States, where it killed several people, created dozens of tornadoes, and knocked out power for millions of people.
As the Earth continues to experience climate change, one of the most devastating effects is an increase in violent weather events. We are in the midst of a record-breaking hurricane season, with 2020 being the first year that 9 tropical storms formed before August 1st. So far, a total of 14 tropical depressions, twelve tropical storms, and two hurricanes have developed.
Having prepared, now we must watch, wait, and ride out this storm , ready to help out where needed in the aftermath.