Prime Minister Reflects on 17 Years since the Passing of Hurricane Luis

"St. Maarten should be grateful for having granted the time to recover but we should never let our guards down"

During the weekly Council of Minister’s Press Briefing the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams reflected on the seventeenth Anniversary since the passing of Hurricane Luis on St. Maarten.


"This Seventeenth Anniversary of Hurricane Luis I pause to reflect on a disaster that changed both the mental, physical and emotional landscape of St. Maarten forever," commented the Prime Minister.

Hurricane Luis was one of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (220 km/h). The storm was the twelfth tropical storm, sixth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the season. Luis was also the strongest hurricane to make landfall, and the second most intense tropical cyclone recorded during the extremely active season. At one point, the storm was one of four simultaneous tropical systems in the Atlantic basin, along with Humberto, Iris, and Karen. The storm lasted for 15 days between late August and nearly middle September when it struck the Island for eighteen hours on September fifth and sixth.

The PM continued by stating that she wished to express gratitude for St Maarten having been spared a major hurricane since such as Luis in 1995 and Lenny in 1999; "Yes we have had bad weather and close callas but we have been spared the likes of Hurricane Luis," continued the PM.

Hurricane Luis caused catastrophic damage, especially in on St. Maarten but also in Antigua, Barbuda, St. Barths, and Anguilla. The storm accounted for 19 deaths, left nearly 20,000 homeless (mostly in Sint Maarten, Antigua, and Barbuda) and wrought roughly $3 billion in damage across the affected areas.

"Today as we remember this solemn and since we are still in the middle of the Hurricane Season we must remind ourselves that it only takes one and that was quite evident in the case of Luis and the years thereafter. St. Maarten should be grateful for having granted the time to recover but we should never let our guards down," concluded the Prime Minister.