As Barbadians mop up after what officials there are describing as a ‘freak storm’ event, the trail of devastation caused by a passing tropical wave is an abrupt reminder that the 2021 North Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially commenced on June 1st, is well on the way.

Prime minister Mia Mottley, who toured the island early Thursday, meeting with affected residents, last night told a press conference that scores of houses were either deroofed and others were totally destroyed. She said that a number of schools also sustained structural damage, and fallen trees have blocked roads with mudslides making some roads hazardous for vehicle travel.

Mottley related that, “I don’t think in my life I have seen so much lightning,” she said, adding, ” and indeed it is only this afternoon when others have expressed that we were getting 490 lightning strikes per minute, and we had over the period of time almost 46,290 strikes based on what was collected.” The prime minister also remarked that the thunder sounding as if it emanated from the bowels of the earth, “and there was a roaring of thunder, not the usual claps of thunder that we are accustomed to, but a roaring coming from almost the belly of the earth. and then of course high winds and in the middle the met office would have issued a high wind warning immediately it started.”

The storm also knocked out the electricity power supply in parts of the island. However, no fatalities or injuries have been reported.

NOAA predicts that the season will be an active one with 13 – 20 named storms; 6 – 10 hurricanes of which 3 -5 could become major hurricanes.[To be updated]

[Estimated percentages of types of storms. Image via NOAA.