Category Archives: RESOURCES

All the information and resources you might need while visiting Dominican Republic.

Hurricane

Hurricane, Cyclone and Tropical Storm Information for Dominican Republic

Hurricanes (Huracán in Spanish) are devastating. Even if it is only a tropical storm it can be destructive. Here we hope to help you get prepared, endure and learn about hurricanes and how to survive them here in Dominican Republic.

JuracánHurricane Season – CategoriesWarningsWhat To DoDominican Republic Emergency Center PamphletTaking Care of a PetWater Vapor Map LinksLinks to Hurricane Related Web SitesTropical Storm Jeannie

Juracán

The work hurricane originates from the Taino, the original occupants of the island. Jurakan or Juracán, a Taino God, controlled the power of the hurricane. Since he control the water and winds when he was angry a hurricane would appear. He was a very angry deity and was not easy to appease, this is why there are so many storms.

The Spanish who came to the island changed the word from Juracán to huracán. The English adapted the word to become the word hurricane that we use today.

Hurricane Season

The hurricane season in the Caribbean begins on June 1st and finishes in November. In Dominican Republic the most active months months for a cyclone is usually mid August through September. The island gets a serious brush on average every 5.03 years. It is averaged that we get a direct hit once every 22.66 years.

We have had 22 hurricanes that have impacted the coast from 1871 to 2004 of which 5 were very devastating.
*September 3, 1930: Huracán San Zenón (4,500 (some accounts say more than 8,000) lives lost. This was one of the top five most devastating Caribbean cyclones)
*October 3, 1963: Huracán Flora (400 lives lost)
*September 26, 1966: Huracán Inés (60 lives lost)
*August 31, 1979: Huracán David (1,000+ lives lost)
*September 22, 1988: Huracán Georges (247 lives lost)

Ciclon San Zenon Santo Domingo September 3, 1930.
The devastating Huracán San Zenón struck Santo Domingo, the Colonial City, on September 3, 1930.

There are a few more pictures of this Hurricane in the Old Pictures Collection – pictures 72,73 and 74)

Hurricane / Huracán, Cyclone / Ciclónica, Tropical Storm / Tormenta Tropical

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, the general term for all circulating weather systems over tropical waters. The hurricane moves counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.

Tropical Disturbance or Tropical Wave is a random mass of thunderstorms, very little, if any, organized wind circulation.

Tropical Depression is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of below 39 mph (34 knots) or less.

Tropical Storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34-63 knots).

Hurricane is an intense tropical weather system with a well defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.

The hurricane is categorized from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest).

*Category 1 winds measure between 74 and 95 mph..(64-82 knots)
*Category 2 winds measure between 96 and 110 mph (83-95 knots)
*Category 3 winds measure between 111 and 130 mph. (96-113
knots)
*Category 4 sustainable winds between 131 and 155 mph. (114-
135 knots)
*Category 5 Sustainable winds over 155 mph.(135 knots and
above)

Many hurricanes do weaken when and if they hit Dominican Republic because of its rough terrain. If a hurricane or Tropical storm does hit it is very devastating to the coastal areas. Obviously the wind, storm surge and rain are serious issues when we are hit with a hurricane. In the interior of the island heavy rainfall can cause mudslides, destroy mountain roads and homes.

Flooding on Playa Cocolindo after Hurricane Sandy October 2012
Flooding on Playa Cocolindo after Hurricane Sandy passed Dominican Republic October 2012

WARNINGS

HURRICANE WATCH means there is a possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours.

You need to prepare just to be safe. Secure the boat, make sure you have all the items in ready for securing your home and belongings. Better to be safe than sorry.

HURRICANE WARNING means that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours or less.

If this warning has been issued people should be actively preparing for the storm. Also deciding the safest location to be during the storm.

The hurricane season in Dominican Republic usually lasts from the beginning of June to the end of November, with August and September being the months of greatest storm activity. The hotels and resorts are usually prepared in case a storm does strike while you are visiting. They will inform their guests what is best and may evacuate you to another place if necessary. In general, the island is prepared for these storms and the tourists are usually well taken care of. If a hurricane has hit and you are planning a vacation here call ahead and make sure all is still ready for your arrival.

Many of the buildings in Dominican Republic are made from blocks, cement, iron rods, sand and gravel. These materials are generally weather-resistant. There are also many buildings and homes with tin roofs. These can become deadly when they become dislodged. Also, watch out for flying coconuts.

A large hurricane named Georges hit Dominican Republic on September 22, 1998. It was a category 3. The one before that was hurricane David in 1979. This was a category 5. Thus, the likelihood of getting caught in a hurricane is very small. But, when a hurricane does strike there is a good chance there will be destruction. The threat of a possible approaching hurricane should always be taken seriously and all necessary precautions should be taken.

Hurricane Issac As Seen From The Malecon of Santo Domingo
The smaller Hurricane Issac as seen from the Malecon, Santo Domingo in front of the Jaragua Hotel August 2012

What To Do In Case Of a Hurricane

If you are not in a major hotel or are living on the island and there is a hurricane threat here are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe. Please be prepared in advance. There are many web sites with complete lists on how to ready in the care of a tropical storm or hurricane. This is a short list of what to do so you can be prepared.

*Know the evacuation routes or know someone that knows the routes.
*Bring in things from the outside that can blow around. Anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
*Secure windows with shutters, boards or tape.
*Stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
*Keep a door or window open on the opposite side of the force of the wind to avoid a build up of pressure that will suck your roof off.
*Fill up the gasoline tanks of all your vehicles.
*Fill baths and clean containers with water. Only drink water after it has been boiled for at least 5 minutes or after bleach has been added (eight drops/gallon) or use a water purifier.
*Make sure your propane gas tank supply is shut off at the time of the storm.
*Turn off electricity mains.
*Do not light candles or lighters until you are sure there is no escaped gas fumes close by.
*Make sure to have money because banks and ATMs may be temporarily shut down.
*Stay in a room without windows (bathroom, closet) if you are staying in your home.
*Do not use the telephone except for emergencies.
*If the eye of the storm happens to pass over your area, make sure not to venture outside, as the ferocious back end of the hurricane is still to follow. You should also be very careful what you do after a hurricane has passed. People are frequently killed after a hurricane passes due to electric shocks from fallen wires or lacerations.

Emergency Information Pamphlet

Pamphlet put out by the Emergency Center in DR.
Pamphlet put out by the Emergency Center in DR. It is a large file. Please click to open and read (in Spanish). Feel free to save it for reference.

The National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a Hurricane Safety Guide to help all be prepared in case of a Tropical Storm. It is a very complete and informative.

If you live on the island try and have a good plastic tote box filled with necessities just in case the worse happens.
*Food that doesn’t need to be cooked.
*Medicines.
*Basic utensils and can opener.
*Soaps and bathroom supplies.
*First aid supplies.
*Personal information.
*Flashlights, matches, candles and batteries.
*Sleeping gear.
*Camping stove and fuel.
*Clothing and rain gear.
*Some basic tools.
*Water.
*Whatever else you may need to live for a time to make it a bit more comfortable like a book or magazine.

Make sure, if you do decide to leave your home, that you give yourself plenty of time. Do so by heading inland until the storm has passed. If The Dominican Republic Emergency Operations Center / Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias (COE) (checking their web site click on ALERTAS) announces that your area is an evacuation area, it will tell you where the shelters are located and you should go immediately.

Dogs Enjoying A Rainbow After The Storm
Dominican Dog Blog Dogs, Buenagente and Inteliperra, enjoying the rainbow after the storm.

Caring For Pets

Remember you cannot take animals, alcohol, or firearms into a shelter. More information about securing your pet in case of a hurricane on the Dominican Dog Blog “Dog Care For Hurricane Season” (written in English and Spanish).

Vapor Maps

Hurricane water vapor and tracking map of the Caribbean area and The Dominican Republic – Hispaniola. You can watch the skies and see the clouds and many times the eye of the storm in real time.

An amazing view from NOAA Star GOES-East Image Viewer Full Disk View – GeoColor. Here you can zoom into an area nd see some spectacular images of the earth.

The Malecon during hurricane Sandy
A ship at sea as seen from the Malecon, Santo Domingo, during Hurricane Sandy October 26, 2012.

Meteorología RD offers a bulletin service via WhatsApp for storm warnings. You just have to send a message (ex. add me, hola) to WhatsApp: 829-812-6173. You can also find them on
FACEBOOK: Meteorología RD
INSTAGRAM: Meteorología RD
TWITTER: Meteorología RD2

Civil Defence of Dominican Republic / Defensa Civil de República Dominicana

NOAA National Weather Service – National Hurricane Center – Tropical Prediction Center.

Hurricane Watch.org for up to the minute hurricane information

Tropical Hurricane Page and their complete weather page Wunderground.

Acqweather, complete information on the weather in Dominican Republic.SPANISH

Caribbean Hurricane Network up to date information on Caribbean weather.

Link for information on Hurricane David at Hurricane City (born August 31-died September 4, 1974) hit Dominican Republic September 1, 1979. The storms highest wind speed was 174 MPH and was the strongest storm to hit Dominican Republic since 1930.

Accounts of Hurricane David when it hit Dominican Republic September 1, 1979.

Santo Domingo Dominican Republic’s history with tropical systems.

Hurricane City has interesting information and a radio program to listen to when there are hurricanes that need reported on.

Dr. Jeff Masters live blog with very informative reports of active storms and weather.

What exactly is a hurricane? To learn more ….

Taking care of your pet during a hurricane.

Legend has it that former President Joaquín Balaguer made a pact with The Virgen de la Altagracia (who is Altagracia?) so the country would not have any large hurricanes…read more on the Myths and Legends page Balaguer and His Hat.

Tropical Storm Jeanne September 16, 2004
Tropical Storm Jeanne as it passed over Dominican Republic September 16, 2004

Tropical Storm Jeanne

This is a picture of Tropical Storm Jeanne when it briefly reached hurricane strength passing over Dominican Republic on September 16, 2004. This picture was taken at 1:55 p.m. Dominican time while the storm had sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph) with stronger gusts, and was moving west at 11 km/hr (7 mph). Jeanne was down graded to a tropical storm after its encounter with the island of Hispaniola.

Picture provided by Visible Earth at NASA.

Creatures

The Creatures of Dominican Republic

On the island of Hispaniola in the country of Dominican Republic we do have some wild life to speak of. I’m not referring to the human-type of wild life, although this is here in abundance. The creatures, small and smaller are what we will include. The endangered, extinct and the creatures that thrive on this tropical island.

Links to the old responsive website until I get it all transferred to the responsive site

Hispaniolan Hutia/ Capromyidae

Agouta or Juron/ Hispaniolan Solendon

Cacata/ Tarantula

Manatee

Heteropoda Venatoria/ Huntsman Spider

Noseeums (biting insects)

The Hispaniolan Woodpecker/ Pájaro Carpintero de la Hispaniola

Hispaniola Boa/ Boa de la Hispaniola

Jaragua Sphaero

Assorted Pictures

The Village Weaver / Madame Sagá

Black Witch Moth

Under The Dominican Sea – Picture Album

A turkey and some Guinnea Hens.
A turkey and some Guinnea Hens.

Dominican Republic has no creatures that will kill you

Here we have no large animals to speak of. Nothing that is going to eat you alive, except for the mosquitoes (which I think should be considered as being the new national bird), and the no-seeums, that I have no idea what they look like but they leave their itchy red mark on the flesh. There are no really dangerous creatures on our island, other than maybe a rare crock, cayman, a scorpion, or a spider. Most tourists and people living in the cities never come across these things. Even the Dominican tarantula, known as the Cacata, is not an easy crawly to see. They usually don’t live in the cities and they usually only come out at night. Most of the cacatas/ tarantulas I have seen were thin anorexic spindly looking arachnids. I know people that have seen giant car-covering spiders carrying a cat away in its dripping fangs, lol. Really there are some very large spiders here but not quite that big.

Parrots are nesting in the holes of a wall.
Parrots are nesting in the holes of Ruinas El Hospital San Nicolas de Bari.

The Birds

The island seems to be inhabited mostly by birds, of all types and colors and lizards, of many sizes and shapes. There are the basic domestic animals not native to the island. There are many cows, goats, chickens and horses. You may even encounter a rabbit that escaped from captivity and made its home in the countryside. There used to be wild boars but they are almost gone and have only been spotted in the mountains where there is little human population.

National Symbols

The Flag of The Dominican Republic | The Dominican Flag Coat of Arms (Shield) | The Constitution of the Dominican Republic pertaining to the Flag and Shield states: | National Stone | National Music | National Flower | National Tree | National Bird

The Flag of The Dominican Republic / La Bandera de la República Dominicana

The Flag of The Dominican Republic / La Bandera de la República Dominicana

“The flag is the most sublime symbol of freedom and national sovereignty”

The Dominican Republic flag was officially adopted on November 6, 1844.

The blue and red are from the flag of Haiti, which once controlled the Dominican Republic. The white cross is a symbol of faith.

The colors of the flag have very special meanings. Rojo bermellón / vermilion red represents the blood shed by the liberators and heroes of the fatherland. Azul ultramar / ultramarine blue represents ideals of progress and liberty and that God protects the Dominican nation. The white cross is the symbol of the struggle for a free homeland, peace, the sacrifice and unity among all the Dominican people.

Modern descriptions of the colors state that the blue represents the sky. Red is the fire and bloodshed by the patriots and people in the struggle for freedom. White represents dignity, the peaceful character of the Dominicans and their dedication to peace.

The Escudo or Coat of Arms is centrally located in the white cross. The Dominican Republic flag is the only flag in the world with a symbol of a bible on it.

The merchant ensign flag is the same as the National Flag without the coat of arms and this flag is considered to be the civil flag.

Raising the flag at the Comandancia de Puerto de Santo Domingo

What is the pledge to the flag? Do you know the Dominican Republic National Anthem Quisqueyanos Valientes?

The Dominican Flag Coat of Arms (Shield) / El Escudo Dominicano

Escudo Nacional Republica Dominicana Dominican Republic Coat of Arms 2010. The new Coat of Arms adopted by constitutional law in 2010 with the bottom red ribbon flowing upward
The old version of the Dominican Republic Coat of Arms / Escudo Nacional Republica Dominicana with the red ribbon flowing downward.

*There have been at least 14 different shields that have been used on the Dominican Republic flag in the past. Casimiro N. De Moya designed the current shield. It was issued by the government of Monseñor Nouel and was adopted as the official shield in 1913.

*In 2010 the constitution was amended to make a rule on the form of the coat of arms as before no definite law existed. Article 32 (written below in Spanish with my English translation) states the bottom red ribbon faces upward. Thus many of the flags center shields are incorrect because their vermilion ribbon faces downward. You will notice that Parque Independencia coat of arms, as with many of the escudos in the country, is an old version of the coat of arms. Thanks Alexis for the updated information.

*The escudo has the same colors as the flag.

*The Bible is the center of the escudo and is open to the Gospel of St. John, Chapter Eight, Verse Thirty-Two (John 8:32) with a golden cross floating above.

*There are two empty spears and four others with the national flags. These four flags do not have the shield on them. These spears, or flagpoles, are located on either side of the central bible. (*I am trying to research as to exactly why there are six spears or poles and what they represent. When I find out if there is a reason I’ll add it)

*There is a laurel branch on the left side of the shield that represents immortality.

*The palm branch on the right represents Liberty.

*This is topped by a blue ribbon that symbolizes glory with the Trinitarian motto: DIOS, PATRIA, LIBERTAD / “God, Fatherland and Liberty (Freedom)”.

*The bottom ribbon is vermilion red with the words: Republica Dominicana (note that they did not use the “ú” in the word “República”)

Comparisons of the Escudos Nacional Republica Dominicana 1844 and 2010

Complete information about the flag in Spanish.

Here’s a link to see the banners of the Political Parties in the Dominican Republic

The Constitution of the Dominican Republic pertaining to the Flag and Shield states:

CONSTITUCION POLITICA DE LA REPBULICA DOMINICANA DE 2002
TITULO XII
DISPOSICIONES GENERALES Artículos de la Constitución (updated 5/2012)

Artículos 32 (el artículo 32 modificado 2010) – El Escudo Nacional tiene los mismos colores de la Bandera Nacional dispuestos en igual forma. Lleva en el centro la Biblia abierta en el Evangelio de San Juan, capítulo 8, versículo 32, y encima una cruz, los cuales surgen de un trofeo integrado por dos lanzas y cuatro banderas nacionales sin escudo, dispuestas a ambos lados; lleva un ramo de laurel del lado izquierdo y uno de palma al lado derecho. Está coronado por una cinta azul ultramar en la cual se lee el lema “Dios, Patria y Libertad”. En la base hay otra cinta de color rojo bermellón cuyos extremos se orientan hacia arriba con las palabras “República Dominicana”. La forma del Escudo Nacional es de un cuadrilongo, con los ángulos superiores salientes y los inferiores redondeados, el centro de cuya base termina en punta, y está dispuesto en forma tal que resulte un cuadrado perfecto al trazar una línea horizontal que una las dos verticales del cuadrilongo desde donde comienzan los ángulos inferiores.

Rough translation (article 32 amended in 2010:The National Shield has the same colors as the National Flag arranged in the same way. The center Bible is opened to the Gospel of St. John, Chapter Eight, Verse Thirty-Two, with a cross above it that arises from a trophy composed of two lances and four national flags without a shield, arranged on both sides; a laurel branch takes the left side and a palm takes the right. It is topped by an ultramarine blue ribbon that reads the motto “God, Fatherland and Liberty”. On the base there is another red vermilion ribbon whose ends are directed upwards, reading the words “República Dominicana”. The shape of the national emblem is rectangular, with rounded corners protruding on the upper and lower points, the center of whose base is tapered, and is arranged so that is a perfect square by drawing a horizontal line joining the two vertical the rectangular from the bottom corners.)

ART. 95.- La bandera nacional se compone de los colores azul ultramar y rojo bermellón, en cuarteles alternados, colocados de tal modo que el azul quede hacia la parte superior del asta, separados por una cruz blanca del ancho de la mitad de la altura de un cuartel y que lleve en el centro el escudo de armas de la República. La bandera mercante es la misma que la nacional sin escudo.

Rough translation (article 95: The national flag is made up of the colors ultramarine blue and red vermilion, in alternation, separated into quarters in such a way that the blue one is towards the superior part of the spear, separated by a white cross the width being half the height of the quarter and that it has in the center the shield of arms of the Republic. The merchant flag is the same one that the national without the shield.)

ART. 96.- El escudo de armas de la República tendrá los mismos colores de la bandera nacional dispuestos en igual forma. Llevará en el centro el libro de los Evangelios, abierto, con una cruz encima surgiendo ambos entre un trofeo integrado por dos lanzas y cuatro banderas nacionales, sin escudo, dispuestas a ambos lados; llevará un ramo de laurel del lado izquierdo y uno de palma al lado derecho; estará coronado por una cinta azul ultramar en la cual se leerá el lema: Dios, Patria y Libertad, y en la base habrá otra cinta de color rojo bermellón con las palabras: República Dominicana. La forma del escudo nacional será de un cuadrilongo, con los ángulos superiores salientes y los inferiores redondeados, el centro de cuya base terminará en punta, y estará dispuesto en forma tal que si se traza una línea horizontal que una las dos verticales del cuadrilongo desde donde comienzan los ángulos inferiores, resulte un cuadrado perfecto.

Rough translation (article 96: The shield of arms of the Republic will have the same colors of the national flag in equal form. It will have in the center the book of Gospels, opened, with a cross lifted arising both between a trophy integrated by two lances and four national flags, without shield, arranged on both sides; it will alongside have a branch of laurel on the left side and one of palm on the right side; the top will be crowned by a blue tape in which the motto will be: God, Mother country and Freedom, and in the base another tape of the color red vermilion with the: Dominican Republic. The form of the national shield will be a perfect square, with the salient superior angles and the inferior ones cleared, the center of whose base it will finish at the end, and will be arranged in form so that if a horizontal line is drawn up the two verticals of cuadrilongo from where the inferior angles begin, is a perfect square. )

The Dominican Republic constitution in Spanish.

National Stone / Piedra Nacional

Amber

The National Stone of The Dominican Republic. A sample is of Dominican amber, Miocene epoch that is 23.8 to 5.3 million years old.

You can find more information about Dominican Republic amber.

National Music / Música Nacional

Merengue

In 2014 Merengue was declared to be the music of the country. More information about Mernegue and some of the musicians who play this newly declared national music.

National Flower / La Flor Nacional

The Rose of Bayahibe / la Rosa de Bayahibe

Dominican Republic National Flower – The Rose of Bayahibe / La Flor Nacional – La Rosa de Bayahibe

The flower of the Caoba was the national flower as declared on July 16, 1957 by decree number 2944. There was always confusion about the national tree and flower and now it is clear. On July 12, 2011 la Rosa de Bayahibe was declared to be the National Flower.

Picture of la Rosa de Bayahibe from diariolibre.com

National Tree / Árbol Nacional

The Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) / La Caoba

National Tree of Dominican Republic – Caoba Tree

There was always confusion about the national tree and flower and now it is clear. As of July 2011 Dominican Republic finally has their national tree. On July 12, 2011 President Leonel Fernandez passed the Law 146-11, which designates the Mahogany tree to be the new official tree of Dominican Republic.

National Tree of Dominican Republic – Caoba Tree Flower

National Bird / Ave Nacional

Palm Chat / Cigua Palmera (Dulus dominicus)

National Bird of the Dominican Republic –
Palm Chat / Ave Nacional – Cigua Palmera

This cute little songbird is found on the island of Hispaniola. It adapts easily to all areas of the country and can be found in abundance.

The Palm Chat prefers to be where there are many palm trees (this is where they got their name). They are communal birds. The nests are large, messy and usually found in large groups or communities. The nests can usually be found in the tops of Royal Palms or atop any other high spot when the palm tree is not available.

A Palm Chat / Cigua Palmera nest high in the tree top.

They lay spotted greyish purple eggs, usually 2 to 4, from March to June.

The song of the Palm Chat is quite loud with constant singing and squawking as they communicate with other birds.

Palm Chats are about 8 inches in length. They have an olive-brown creamy color on top and streaked with brown on the bottom. Their backside and the edges of their feathers are a dark yellow-green. They have large yellow bills and rust colored eyes.