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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 September, 2004, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Eyewitness: Hurricane Ivan
BBC News Online user, Sian Halliwell, e-mailed her eyewitness account of Hurricane Ivan from Kingston, Jamaica.


A hurricane damaged house
Houses in Kingston have been devastated by Hurricane Ivan
The torrential rain started on Thursday evening and it hasn't stopped for the past three days.

Even the hurricane warnings and watches couldn't have prepared us for the battering we have received from Hurricane Ivan so far.

The worst of the storm hit us around 8pm on Friday evening and it was almost impossible to hear anything over the sound of the wind and the rain hammering the roof and windows.

Most of the trees in the garden are now bare and one of these - a pine-tree - is leaning at a 45 degree angle to the house.

There is a large sheet of somebody else's metal roofing on the grass, and the swimming pool is overflowing with water and debris that has flown in.

Although the experts say the worst of the hurricane has passed, the rain and wind has lessened slightly but is now accompanied by a huge thunderstorm with massive bangs of thunder echoing through the sky.

This experience with Ivan has combined fear, trepidation and absolute helplessness with a sense of excitement
Sian Halliwell

The water is still coming in through the window-shutters and the towels we nailed to the window frames to absorb the water are totally saturated.

The local radio station has been excellent and kept us fully informed throughout the hurricane.

There have been many reports of looting and shooting around the city, but so far we haven't been exposed to this.

We're hoping the storm will ease over the next few hours but it doesn't look like it will be happening soon.

The mobile phone signal is still working so we've been able to stay in regular contact with my sister, Louise, back in Limerick, Ireland.

The rest of my family is here, so she has been texting and emailing regularly to check on our situation.

The rain is still pounding the windows on all sides of the house and flying debris accumulates every minute in the already highly damaged garden.

I was supposed to be returning to UK this week with my brother and a friend, but it looks like we'll be stay to help clear up when it's all over.

Flooding
The hurricane has caused widespread flooding

We hear the airport road is currently impassable having been battered overnight by the raging sea - the hurricane caused tidal surges.

This experience with Ivan has combined fear, trepidation and absolute helplessness with a sense of excitement.

Those who experienced Gilbert have often told us this would be the case.

Ivan is now in the west of Jamaica and heading towards Cayman and Cuba, but its legacy of destruction and fear continues here in Kingston.

The clear up will start when we are told that we can go outside safely.

We don't know when we'll get water and power back.

In the meantime we are sitting tight.



SEE ALSO:
Hurricane Ivan slams into Jamaica
11 Sep 04  |  Americas
In pictures: Hurricane Ivan
10 Sep 04  |  In Pictures
Reporters' Log: Hurricane Ivan
11 Sep 04  |  Americas
Hurricane Ivan: Your experiences
11 Sep 04  |  Have Your Say



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