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Bahamian meteorologist releases new book, "The Great Bahamas Hurricane of 1929..."
Jan 16, 2014 - 12:21:29 PM

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Meteorologist and author, Wayne Neely of The Bahamas has just released his latest book
called, ‘The Great Bahamas Hurricane of 1929-The Story of the Greatest Bahamian Hurricane of the 20th Century.’ The book was a 2 year project and is based on the great impact of this storm on the Bahamas in 1929.  The storm killed 134 persons in the Bahamas, mostly mariners and sponge fishermen, as it directly hit the islands of New Providence and Andros.

This hurricane devastated the northwest Bahamas and impacted the economy of the Bahamas for years to follow. This storm occurred during the peak of the sponging era. Many boats were out at sea on sponging trips and were caught at sea during this storm not knowing a massive storm was approaching the Bahamas and many persons perished on-board these ships. For example, a large American freighter Wisconsin Bridge was lost in the hurricane with 34 persons on-board perishing. A bride and her family of 18 persons were heading to Mangrove Cay Andros to attend her wedding and sadly all persons on board the schooner they were traveling in drowned during the peak of the storm. A dog called ‘Speak Your Mind’ rescued a sponge fisherman out at sea. This book is filled with many similar stories of this nature. This book is a must read.

The highlights of this massive storm:

1)     This storm killed 134 persons and well over 5,000 were left homeless in New Providence (The population of New Providence in 1929 was approximately 13,000 persons). On this island 456 houses were destroyed and 640 were badly damaged. Approximately 73% of all the homes and businesses in Nassau were destroyed.

2)     This storm lasted for three consecutive days.

3)     95% of all of the churches in Nassau and all of the churches in Andros were destroyed. Approximately 77% of the Government’s Annual Budgets in 1930 and 1931 were devoted to the rebuilding efforts from this hurricane.

4)     70% of all of the sponge vessels throughout the Bahamas were destroyed in this storm (Sponging Industry was the number one industry of the Bahamas at the time).

5)     This storm was one of the main reasons why the government of the Bahamas switched from Sponging to Tourism as the number one industry of the Bahamas (It must be noted that the major reason for the decline was the sponge disease which decimated the sponge beds in 1938). This hurricane destroyed almost all of the sponge warehouses and 336 sponge vessels and twice that amount being badly damaged.  

6)     This hurricane was the main reason why building codes were implemented shortly after this storm because of the great damage done in this storm. The Bahamas Government realized that these powerful storms in the late 1920s were no match for the buildings being constructed at the time.

7)     The song “Run Come See Jerusalem” by Blind Blake was based of the destruction caused by this storm. Three boats bound for Andros, the Ethel, Myrtle, and Pretoria, were caught in the storm. The Pretoria sunk, and 27 lives were lost when it sunk at the entrance of Fresh Creek Harbour Channel. Unfortunately, only three lives were saved from this ship, and they were Yorick Newton of Blanket Sound, Victor Spence of Small Hope Bay and Henley Brown of Blanket Sound. These ‘lucky three’, as they were referred to at the time, were able to swim ashore after the Pretoria capsized.

This book is now available locally at Logos Bookstore in the Harbour Bay Shopping Center, Cole Thompson Pharmacy Downtown, Chapter One Bookstore opposite the College of the Bahamas, Bahama Divers East Bay Street and other local bookstores.  For those not in the Bahamas it is available from the publisher www.iuniverse.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com and many other online and local bookstores throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.


Wayne Neely is an international speaker, best-selling author, lecturer on hurricanes, educator, and meteorologist. Travelling extensively, Wayne addresses critical issues affecting all aspects of hurricanes, especially Bahamian Hurricanes which is one of his central areas of expertise. In addition, in most of his books he also includes controversial topics such as, Global Warming, El Niño and man’s overall impact on the weather and climate of this region and the rest of the world. However, if you were to ask him where his loyalty lies, he would tell you that he specializes in and have a great love, respect and appreciation for Bahamian hurricanes and their impact on the islands of the Bahamas. The central themes of his books are always on hurricanes in general and the impact of hurricanes on all aspects of mankind’s ever expanding society. He’s a Weather Forecaster in Nassau, Bahamas and has been there for well over 22 years. He has a great passion for writing and does it in his spare time. Wayne Neely is a certified Meteorologist working at the Department of Meteorology in Nassau, Bahamas-prior to that he majored in Geography and History at the College of The Bahamas in Nassau. He then attended the Caribbean Meteorological Institute in Barbados where he majored and specialized in weather forecasting. He has written seven bestselling books on hurricanes

Wayne Neely

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