The International Steam Pages
Zafra 2002 - Prospects
Here is the 2002 'open list' courtesy of Thierry Nicholas of Transnico Tours, below is Ron Lingley's considered response to fears about Hurrican Michelle's effects.
Mills in red may have steam activity.
The list of names missing from this list is significant. (But remember the list let alone the dates is never 100% reliable.) They include:
413 Espartaco, 443 Pepito Tey, 515 Ciro Redondo, 522 Venezuela
However Ron Lingley of Steam in Paradise says he has a list which quotes Ciro Redondo as milling 24-12-01 to 11-04-02.
Expect intermills with steam from 201 Amistad, 211 RM Villena, 212 Osvaldo Sanchez, 405 Luis Arcos Bergnes, 428 Marcelo Salado, possibly 448 Simon Bolivar.
Hurricane Michelle struck Cuba on the evening of November 4th 2001. With winds of up to 135mph. in the eye of the storm, this category 4 hurricane was the strongest to hit the island since October 1944. It came ashore at Playa Giron in the Bay of Pigs area of Matanzas Province at 4 p.m., moving north across the island through Guareiras, Colon and Corralillo. By the time it moved offshore in the early hours of November 5th, its force had reduced considerably.
Official estimates released show at least 2,000 homes destroyed, mainly wooden thatched cottages in the countryside, although up to another 10-40,000 homes and buildings have been damaged (mainly to roofs) in some way. The extensive evacuation of over 750,000 people and 740,000 animals by the Cuban Civil Defence from areas at risk in the path of the storm or storm surges on the coast resulted in only 5 deaths. The Bay of Pigs peninsular was badly damaged throughout and is currently closed. The whole town of Jaguey Grande was flooded to a level of 3'- 4' by the 10"- 20" of rainfall which accompanied the storm. Thousands of trees were felled and power and telecommunications lines severed.
An extensive clean-up campaign was already underway by mid morning on the 5th, with virtually all the local population taking part. Teams of engineers were hard at work to restore power and telephones. Although even today, some parts of Matanzas Province remain without power. National transport services were resumed on the 6th and 7th. The good weather that followed the storm meant that by 8th flood waters had receded and the fields were drying out. Although the effects of the storm were felt over a wide area from Havana to Santa Clara and along the southern coast as far as Sancti Spiritus Province, the main damage was along the path of the eye. The extensive citrus planations were badly affected as was the banana crop. Many fields in this area were without a single banana plant left standing.
Contrary to some reports, sugar cane can stand even this amount of battering. The area in which it has become most mangled is Australia/Antonio Sanchez possibly up as far as Guareiras. This will still be cut, but mostly by hand. Further north, I saw concrete telegraph poles snapped into two, but the canefields behind them were still standing, albeit at a angle of 20-30 degrees from the vertical. This will straighten up in the forthcoming months as it did after hurricane Lily (the previous category 3 hurricane to hit this area) in 1996.
Generally throughout the island the cane is looking good after months of hot weather and good rainfall. Even hurricane rainfall can be useful in some areas! On national television an official stated that where the cane has been blown down, it will be cut by hand and that MINAZ (the Ministry of Sugar) is eager to begin harvesting as soon as possible. They aim to start cutting in the affected areas in December to take into consideration the longer time needed to cut by hand.
The main concern was the mills, but they are hardly high technology. They are pretty sturdy and will cope with or without roofs! Although Michelle was stronger, after Lily no mills were put out of action. Apart from missing corrugated roof sections, at present the only report received of any damage to a mill is at Reynold Garcia, which was probably not due to operate anyway. No damage was seen at George Washington as I passed by.
Australia mill, at most risk from the storm, lost its roof, but intends to start milling at the beginning of February. 28% of Australia's cane has been affected and will be cut by hand. Some other mills (including Jesus Rabi, Primero de Mayo and Antonio Sanchez) had their patios flooded. The electricity throughout Western Cuba had been turned off as the hurricane struck so as to avoid accidents and damage to equipment. MINAZ have now confirmed that there was no damage to the machinery at the mills.
Other reports of damage include a part of the old station building at Matanzas (now used as the bus terminal), which collapsed. Also the secondary line between Pedro Betancourt and Cienfuegos was cut with a bridge down and a section of the line washed away. The Steam Festival at Mal Tiempo will go ahead as planned.
At the other end of the island Rafael Freyre suffered heavy rain as Michelle headed out into the Atlantic. They intend to commence milling in early February.
Ron Lingley, Steam In Paradise. 19 November 2001.