Before Hurricane Maria made a direct hit on St. Croix, the island was serving as the hub for recovery efforts from earlier storms in other U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
A resident of St. Croix for more than three decades, Ditty Layton, survived Maria inside her home on the East End. Layton said, remarkably, she has not lost cell phone service and was reaching out to friends in Florida.
She weathered Maria sheltered in an interior safe room and was able to text throughout the storm with friends and neighbors.
“Everybody I know that I’ve heard from talk about maybe partial roofs gone, some windows, but mostly just the trees and the leaves are all gone again,” Layton said. “So it’ll be a huge clean up.”
Layton said prior to Maria’s threat, she and other “Cruzans,” or St. Croix residents, donated a lot of their hurricane supplies to the victims of Hurricane Irma in St. John, St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
“I wonder, because we have been working so hard to help St. Thomas and the BVI, giving them all our water, and diapers and…,” Layton said. “I hope we can get the necessities here quickly because I think they'll be needed. I think people are probably going to be needing things fast.”
Layton also survived the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 while caring for her three young children.
She said Maria is less stressful because her children are now grown. And she and her husband bought their home on the East End because it survived Hugo.
St. Croix’s south shore and West End reportedly took the brunt of the storm. Layton said Wednesday afternoon she had not yet heard from folks in those areas.