I’m not a patient person at the best of times, but waiting for a hurricane to make up its mind and get moving is driving me nuts! Tuesday of this week “Rina” was sitting over Honduras, moving at 3 miles per hour. She was classed as a category two hurricane with wind speeds of between 96 and 110 miles per hour, due to hit category three status with wind speeds of between 111 and 130 miles per hour as it passes over Isla Mujeres late Thursday afternoon into early Friday morning. Some reports are now showing it downgraded to a milder tropical storm by Friday.
|Sunshine and boats – calm before the storm|
The National Hurricane Centre lists the possible damage for each category according to the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale: Category One serious winds and damage: injury or death due to flying or falling debris, older mobile homes could be destroyed, loss of vinyl siding, and damage to roofs, unprotected windows, or chimneys. Category Two extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: all of the above plus destruction of all mobile homes, damage to wood frame houses, complete power outages and uprooting of trees. Category Three devastating damage will occur: all of the above plus roofs, siding, fences, commercial signage, complete and long lasting power outages, glass in high rise buildings will fail. Category Four and Five: Well, heck, think of Katrina in New Orleans or Wilma here on Isla, both in 2005. Nasty stuff.
|Chica and Tommy on the pile of outdoor cushions|
We have had things from outside decks packed up for two days; cushions, furniture, and some plants all stuffed inside. The cats are grumpy. I have been keeping them in more than usual, and when I do let them out it’s windy and wet as the unsettled weather is pushed our way. The beach dogs are hiding in their house in the carport. Not at all happy about the thunder and lightning last night.
Our upper and lower sliding windows have been braced with pieces of aluminum or wood to keep the wind from pushing them open. We have extra supplies, candles for the lanterns, batteries for the flashlights, lots of purified water, and soda water for the single malt whiskey (priorities you know). Lawrie fueled up the car on Tuesday. We hit the ATM one more time for cash – as that is something that frequently is not available when bad weather hits. Everyone heads to the banks to take money out, and the ATM’s have been known to run out of cash.
|Lawrie’s hurricane prep|
In the past the electricity was shut off the day before a hurricane was due to arrive as a preventive measure. Fortunately CFE (electrical company) has not done that yet, however the power line coming from the centre of town to our house is only at 110 volts, making it impossible for things like our water pressure pump, microwave, and cappuccino maker to operate. (We are surviving, barely, in these primitive conditions.) The power line coming out of the Colonias to Richard and Linda’s house, one lot south of us is still at 220 volts. Fortunately they don’t mind us using their showers to clean up.
|Navy rescue boats stashed in lagoon area|
We took a drive around Isla a few minutes ago, looking for a CFE service truck and linesmen so that we could tell them our tale of woe, as the main office is boarded up and locked up until Monday. Eventually we tracked one down, and followed him back to the compound. He was so delighted to find out that we wanted him to do electrical repairs in the rain. So very delighted! As I am writing this the CFE service truck with three linesmen has just arrived at our house! And lo and behold five minutes later we are back to normal power-wise! The wire running from the pole to Ronda’s house and ours had come apart. The linesman stripped the wires down to metal, twisted them together, and applied electrician’s tape. Voila! Done!
As for the rest of the island, doors and windows everywhere are boarded. The hotels have removed every chair, sun lounger, umbrella, and table from their beaches or patios. Schools, government offices, and most businesses are closed. A few restaurants remain open for the people who either don’t want to cook, or tourists who can’t cook. Big boats such as the car ferries, tour boats, the Pirate dinner cruise boats, or UltraMar water taxis are stuffed into the inner harbour. Pangas, the small fishing boats, have been pulled up a long way onto land and secured to palm trees. A number of boats in the boat-repair yard are lashed down with multiple lines, anchoring them securely to the ground.
And everyone is waiting, bored silly, playing with computers, texting friends, watching TV, reading, or napping. Various island friends have posted on FaceBook: I’m bored. I want to get back to work. Is it over yet? Nine months from now we may see an increase in the birth rate on the island. Hopefully Saturday morning we can wake up to brilliant sunshine and a storm that passed quietly by on tippy-toes, rather than stomping around on thick-soled hiking boots.
|PeMex gas station boarded up|