Hurricane Irma left a trail of devastation across the Dominican Republic last Thursday as the then-Category 5 storm and its 175kmh winds ripped through the Caribbean as it made its way to its current location on the Florida coast.
Mr Nordstrand, who for 16 years has been a central figure in Phuket’s sailing industry, and Ms Fernandes, who spent nine years with the Amanpuri resort on Phuket’s west coast – where the two were married 16 years ago – had temporary relocated fro seven months to the Dominican Republic from their home at Baan Manik in Thalang.
Weeks after the family’s arrival on the Caribbean island, to a home about three kilometres east of Rio San Juan on the northeast side of Dominican Republic, Irma reared her ferocious head and pummelled the island’s northern coast.
“We’re all okay here. What we went through really wasn’t major compared to others,” Mr Nordstrand told The Phuket News.
“The house we’re in was bullet-poof. We had a generator, so power stayed on, even the WiFi stayed connected.
“As we were on the shoreline it was pretty spectacular, but I can’t say we were traumatised at all,” Mr Nordstrand added.
However, in the hours leading up to Irma’s arrival, the family were not overly confident of escaping the devastating winds.
“We were holding our breaths the night before as it wasn’t 100 per cent sure which way it was heading, so yes, that was a little stressful,” Mr Nordstrand explained.
“Also, the weather predictions were showing less than we got. Windalert was pretty good. Windy.ty was about 15 knots out,” he added.
“We only boarded up our place the afternoon before. Luckily we did as we took a bit of a pasting. Also luckily, the worse part of the storm was in daytime. The breeze started building from 4am and continued through till 1pm the next afternoon (Sept 7).
“The direction changed, built and subsided as the eye went past, I reckon 50 to 80km away,” Mr Nordstrand explained.
With the worst past them, local residents and emergency services have begun a massive island-wide clean-up operation.
“The trees around our property took a hammering. Every 10 minutes another branch would tear off or whole tree toppled over. It’s quite a mess to clean up in the following days,” Mr Nordstrand pointed out.
Schools, closed since last Wednesday (Sept 6), are to re-open today, he added.
Mr Nordstrand fully appreciates how luck has played its part in his family’s escape from harm.
“Like l said, others fared worse. Miami is not having fun at all,” he said.