Rugby Planation owner Jeffery Evelyn has experienced his share of bad weather and storms.
Tending to properties that have survived for three centuries, he is aware that they would have withstood many a violent storm and powerful hurricane.
Yet, Evelyn told Barbados TODAY, he has never had to deal with the sort of damage that he suffered on Tuesday.
And it had nothing to do with the four to six inches of rain that damaged some of the island’s roads and ground the country to a virtual halt.
Instead, Evelyn swore that a tornado, the likes of which he had not experienced before, swept through his stables and guest cottages on Tuesday afternoon leaving in its wake a trail of destruction.
The plantation owner was not present when the system struck – he was at his business, J E Security at Edghill, St Thomas.
When he got a call advising that a roof had collapsed, he thought it had finally succumbed to the weight of the water from a leak.
Then he got a call from his domestic assistant that a huge gust of wind had scattered everything in his kitchen.
“I was at the office and I got a call that one of the roofs had caved in, so first thing I thought that it had a leak from before that is why it had taken in so much water and finally it caved in. And then I got a call from our helper who then said there was a big gust of wind and everything in the kitchen was thrown around,” he explained.
The owner of the 40 acre property reported that his staff were about to move the horses when a roof landed next to them, and that a gardener from next-door had seen the tornado rapidly advance through his residence, tearing off shutters and roofs in its path.
He said the winds lifted the roofs off the properties and threw them into the cottage, leaving a gaping hole, and halved a tree as well.
“The guy [his neighbour’s gardener] was quite shocked because he watched it all happening, whereas the guys in the backyard they heard it and they saw the swirl, and all of a sudden they saw the roof landing next to them,” he said.
“[He] was really shocked to see this swirl in front of him and then to see it lift the roof. It’s not that we were having high winds or anything at the time, we were just having billows of rain and then this swirl just happened. And as quickly as it came, it went.”
Stressing that Tuesday’s rain and winds brought back memories of the floods of the 1970s, Evelyn said “this property is over 300 years old . . . it has seen many hurricanes; we’ve had very little damage of any hurricane that went through. not like what happened on Tuesday”.
Efforts to reach the Departnemt of Emergency Management tonight were unsucessful.