Imagining a Belize hurricane: “Sea Change” is my third short story to see publication

It’s fitting that my five copies of The Caribbean Writer arrived in September. In it (pages 139-141) appears “Sea Change,” a short story based on the horrific hurricane that struck Belize Sept. 10, 1931.

A hurricane is bad enough today. Imagine a ferocious storm arriving with little warning, striking a small town where nothing of its kind had hit in living memory. Add the fact that most of the town’s residents were out and about celebrating a national holiday.

  • The hurricane struck Belize City and the north coast of British Honduras with winds up to 125 miles per hour
  • The storm surge swamped the sea-level town
  • An estimated 2,500 people died

Did the colonial authorities fail to warn the populace of the impending danger? Did people simply ignore the warnings, unable to conceive of the the potential devastation?

  • READ: A news report about the facts and myths surrounding what happened on Sept. 10, 1931

“Sea Change” is my imagining of that day, based on a story told in my family. As I understand the tale, my grandfather Clive Tucker and his younger brother Arthur Tucker–both children–were part of a celebratory seaside crowd when the first signs of the storm appeared. Granddad did not know exactly what was about to happen, but he had a sense of foreboding and headed home, Uncle Arthur in tow.

The story is not online, but you can order copies through journal’s websiteThe Caribbean Writer is refereed literary journal founded in 1986 and published by the University of the Virgin Islands.

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