Belleville, Ont., native Mike Bryant has lived in the Dominican Republic for nearly two decades. He operates a tour company in Punta Cana, and felt the impact of Hurricane Fiona first-hand.
Some communities saw homes damaged or destroyed. In and around his own area, Bryant described downed signs and scattered tree branches.
Those were just some of the remnants of the storm now surging in strength toward Atlantic Canada.
“Fiona was a whole different breed,” he described in an interview on Wednesday. “Much, much stronger. Much more deliberate. I only slept maybe an hour and a half with one eye open through the night as she basically pounded on us.”
The storm, which has grown to a Category 4, was strongly felt in Puerto Rico, where many were left without power or running water. There have been multiple reports of deaths throughout the Caribbean.
“I wrote in a little journal that it sounds more like I’m underneath the hood of a diesel engine car going down the road. Everything is rattling, shaking, vibrating. It’s quite a unique sound,” recalled Bryant.
Eric Gagne of Cambridge, Ont., was on vacation in the Dominican Republic when the hurricane made landfall. He was staying at a resort in Punta Cana and arrived back on Canadian soil on Tuesday evening.
He admits that at first, he wasn’t afraid of what was to come.
“We were just in this room in a box and it felt just like anything could happen,” he said. “We didn’t hear any trees go down, but we could hear them flapping in the wind, and later that night, we were trying to sleep and water was seeping into our room.
“I feel like I could moonwalk through a snow storm, no big deal, but a hurricane is just real.”