Tuesday, October 26, 2010

all quiet on the western front

          This was written yesterday, a few hours after Hurricane Richard came through Belize

It’s 6am, and we are ok.  Belize was hit by Hurricane Richard last night, a category 1 hurricane that hit the country pretty much dead center and took a ride down the western Highway, leaving the country at the official border station at Benque Viejo, right down the road from us. So far, thank God,  most of the damage on  the farm seems to be downed trees and no power.  The hurricane hit us about midnight last night…not that I’ve experienced many hurricanes, but I have to say a hurricane at night is quite scary.  The whole country lost power about 8pm.  We were as  prepared as we could be, and had decided to stay at our house, but about 10pm the winds got threateningly strong, and we weren’t exactly confident in the ability of the roof to stay on the house.  So we packed up my cat and my computer, and moved down the road to the house Daniel grew up in, which is basically a concrete bunker.  We could see trees bending and hear crashing as they came down.  I kept wondering if we would hear the crash if our roof flew off… Love FM, the country’s hurricane central command, remained on the air and we were able to hear occasional updates.  Not exactly a comfort, as they tracked the hurricane’s path directly towards us.  We heard about the damage in Belize City, and knew that in a few hours we would be experiencing the same thing.  It’s uncommon for this area of the country to get a hurricane, usually hurricanes skirt the coast.  The center of the hurricane reportedly passed right over us last night.- I can’t say I noticed at the time, but it is apparent at our house that the winds came from all directions. 
So this morning we breathed a sigh of (astonished) relief as we rounded the corner and saw our roof was still on.  Daniel’s corn, sadly, is flattened.  We mopped out the ground floor of the house but for the most part, amazingly, everything is dry.  I think it’s helped that we’ve had 2 false hurricane alarms earlier this season, because we did a lot of prepping the house then. This time we mostly battened down the hatches and packed a few escape bags (an interesting ‘what would you bring to a desert island’ exercise).   Now I’m off to heat some water on our stove for a bath, and see if I need to head in to work.  But hopefully I will be able to stay home and take a nice nap.  
At about 9 this morning the national emergency organization (aptly called NEMO) called the all clear for driving on the highways, so Daniel and I went into Benque to see if we needed to report to work. We saw some downed trees on the way in, and lots of flattened grass, but no building damage.  Benque only had a few branches down, probably the hills surrounding the town blocked a lot of the wind, which is very fortunate because a lot of houses in Benque would never have stood up to the winds.  We heard later on the radio that winds had been measuerd at 92 miles an hour in Spanish Lookeout, which is about 30 minutes from us.  No work so we headed home.


Lunch time- still no power, and they are saying it probably won't be up for another 48 hours.  We decide to have a BBQ with our fridge contents.  Daniel salvaged some corn from the downed plants, and we had roasted corn with BBQ pork and trotillas.  Crossing our fingers that the rest of the pig in the freezer will stay frozen, else we are going to have a REALLY big BBQ soon.


At about 5:30 pm the power came on- such a relief.  We headed over to Daniel's parents to watch the news on TV- about 24 hours after the storm we are finally seeing some images of the damages.  Miraculously, it looks like everyone took this storm seriously and went to shelters- there are no deaths.  Lots of roofs off, about 200 houses between here and the coast flattened, and entire areas of jungle torn apart.  All the oranges and grapefruits have been torn off the trees down south.  But it could have been much, much worse, and I think the entire country appreciates this.  Everyone is saying some thankful prayers tonight.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Cathleen - I'm glad that you are okay! By the way, I love reading your blog!
    -Mary Beth O'Connor


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