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Former Chapel woman caught up in Hurricane Irma
Monday 11th September 2017 @ 14:21 by Adam Higgins
Chapel-en-le-Frith News

A woman who grew up in Chapel has been caught up in the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma.

The storm has left a trail of destruction in America, killing at least 28 people and leaving some areas under water and without power as strong winds of more than 100 miles per hour and dangerous flooding took hold.

The most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, Irma has also caused widespread ruin to several Caribbean Islands including Saint Kitts – where Joanne Delay has lived for the last nine years.

The 44-year-old returned to the island in the West Indies from her annual visit to the High Peak to visit her parents, just two days before warnings about the hurricane’s imminent arrival were issued.

Joanne, who is in the process of setting up her own property management company, opened up her house to neighbours and friends, who also brought their pets and they are staying in her big basement.

She rang her parents Bill and Glenis Gill back in Chapel, who were relieved to hear she is safe and well.

“Joanne had to take shelter from the hurricane and there are 10 adults, eight dogs and three cats in her house,” Glenis told the Chronicle.

“We’ve been speaking to her every day and she said it’s been hectic over there but the island has got off lightly compared to some of the others.

“There was minimal damage and they have power now. There is some damage and they’re working to get the internet restored. It’s been a bit intermittent and needed attention.

“They have been on clean-up duty on the beaches. People have lost their gardens and trees have been blown down. They are waiting to hear if anywhere on the island has sustained significant damage but they are unboarding and starting to get back to normal.

“They also had to prepare for Hurricane Jose but thankfully it veered off to the north. They started making preparations almost two weeks ago when they knew it was going to be a big and dangerous hurricane.

“Once Irma was due to hit, they had to baton down and stay in the house. But the Caribbean people are really quite hardy and carry on as best they can.”

Glenis has been in regular contact with Joanne, who is pictured above with her partner Paul, whilst the extreme weather has hit and said it was the worst she has ever known.

“This is unprecedented and it’s been the worst one in history, in terms of size and strength. The island has been hit by hurricanes in the past and we visit Joanne twice a year and we were there for a small hurricane one year – the noise of that was bad enough.

“But this has been so catastrophic. I’ve never heard of so many islands being destroyed – it usually only hits one or does damage to a couple. It’s left a trail of devastation straight up the islands.

“We are just happy that they all seem to be safe and well in Saint Kitts, if not a little battered. All of the properties where she is are fine and there are no roofs missing.

“Some locals have lost homes, especially those down on the coast and the sea front who have got the brunt of it but the Caribbean spirit is strong and resilient.”