2016-10-06 / Front Page

Alfred couple in Bahamas as hurricane roars through

Senior Staff Writer

Hurricane Matthew makes itself known. A view from Paradise Island, Bahamas, at 7:30 a.m. today. SUBMITTED PHOTOS/Courtesy of Karen Lord Hurricane Matthew makes itself known. A view from Paradise Island, Bahamas, at 7:30 a.m. today. SUBMITTED PHOTOS/Courtesy of Karen Lord UPDATE: By 2 P.M., much of the wind had subsized. The Lords remain safe.

At 1 p.m., Karen Lord said  the walls had blown off two exterior rooms.. David and Karen Lord and their daughter, Casey, are safe.

At 11 a.m., Karen  said the ceilings in the hotel were falling, and that some windows had blown out.

PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS — When David and Karen Lord were packing for their trip to Paradise Island to attend a wedding this week, the couple made sure they packed some food, water and flashlights.

That was because Matthew, a Category 4 hurricane, was forecast to make its mark in the Bahamas before making its way to the Florida coast.

But then, the couple are used to being prepared.

David Lord is Alfred’s longtime fire chief and a Portland firefighter. Karen Lord, a public safety dispatcher in Biddeford, is a volunteer firefighter and EMT with Alfred Fire & Rescue.

At 6 a.m. today, it was still dark at the Lords’ hotel – but Karen was up and drinking coffee in the lobby, she said by Facebook private message.

“We’re not at the worst yet,” she wrote. “It could hit 150 m.p.h. this morning and afternoon.”

The storm was moving at about 12 miles per hour as of 6 a.m., Karen said.

At 7:30 a.m., Karen said guests were told to grab breakfast and then go to their rooms for the day. She said the wind was starting to pick up, and part of the roof near her daughter’s room had come off.

According to The Associated Press, Matthew was expected to gain strength overnight into this morning, and its course was expected to take it near the capital city of Nassau. Paradise Island, where the Lords are staying, is located just off the shore of Nassau.

The Alfred couple traveled to the Bahamas on Oct. 3 – a day earlier than planned. Karen said they knew the hurricane was coming.

“We flew in early so we would be here,” she said.

Perhaps it is their long years of fire and emergency experience, but they weren’t nervous, she said. And they’re ready to pitch in and help if need be, though she said the Bahamians seemed very well prepared.

On Wednesday, the hotel was preparing for the worst, installing steel plates over all the windows on the ground floor. Karen said they informed guests that the hotel doors would be locked at 8 p.m.

If the hurricane had ramped up heavily Wednesday night, hotel guests would have been required to spend the night in the ballroom. As It turned out, they were all able to stay in their rooms, she said.

Power was spotty throughout the night, and at least for some time, the hotel was operating on a generator.

As for the wedding, not everyone who planned to attend will be able to get there – but the bride and groom are on the island.

Closer to home, at this stage it looks like Matthew will miss Maine, but York County Emergency Management Agency Director Art Cleaves reminded residents to pay attention to weather forecasts and plan ahead – even if it looks like the storm will miss the area.

Check for updates on the Lords today on journaltribune.com and the Journal Tribune’s Facebook page.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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