Monday, June 22, 2009

an ill wind . . .


If this was a word association test, most people would probably respond: Florida, New Orleans, Caribbean.

Two years ago, I would have been right there with them. The notion that hurricanes are a creature of the eastern Pacific was not part of my experience.

The reason is easy. Lots of people live along the Gulf of Mexico. That means people are interested in news story when weather causes problems on the East Coast.

But the eastern Pacific has tropical storms and hurricanes. I knew that years ago from my cruise visits to Mexico. Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta have maintained ruins from their recent rounds with variously-named storms. But that piece of trivia never stuck with me.

Tomorrow I may have an opportunity to improve my memory by experiencing up close and personal my first hurricane -- or tropical storm.

Andres is headed our way. Whether giant or midget, we will find out tomorrow. It is a tropical storm at the moment, but predicted to pick up enough speed to graduate to the esteemed rank of hurricane.

Take a look at the picture at the top of the blog. About in the middle of the red area (marked "hurricane warning") you will find my little village of Melaque. (You will have to imagine because no population centers are marked.)

Admittedly, this is just a prediction. And as President Michael Dukakis can tell you, predictions are not always accurate.

I will predict one thing, though. Sometime early tomorrow morning, I will lose electrical power. That means no blog entry.

So, this will have to be it.

I suspect we will end up with some wind and rain, and a few severed plam fronds.

When we have power again, I will fill you in on how my three-day a week Spanish course is going, and whether there were any interesting storm events.

Until then, salud.


Constantino said...

Well Steve telling you to have a full bottle of your favorite booze is fruitless, so be sure and have plenty of your diet coke, and a cooler of ice, since it may be a day or two before you may get power back on at the worst. Enjoy it, it is a gift of nature, you have already enough books to read, and you already have a nice trusting companion...what more do you need?
Be well and safe!

Anonymous said...

hopefully it will remain a tropical storm. you don't need to deal with a hurricane so soon after moving there. (or ever for that matter) i was in 2, one on long island as hard as that may be to believe, and the other in japan.

i'm very eager to hear about your class. i hope you won't lose power so you can tell us all about it enseguida.

just like constantino i was surprised that you are taking a course to keep up your license, but i really don't blame you. you can be retired and still keep your credentials. who knows, maybe someday you can practice law in mexico after you learn spanish really well. just kidding, but one never knows what the future has in store, so might as well be prepared.

take care,

Steve Cotton said...

Constantino -- Funny you should mention the Coke Light. I was running low, so I made a run to the store. While there, the wind blew down an electrical line at the corner of the jardin. The line jumped and arced. I have never seen flames like that in a public place. I could hear transformers blowing in the businesses, but the line kept arcing. Considering how much water was on the ground and how many people were in the area, I was shocked that no one was injured. But I have my drink, my bag of ice, and my dog. Now I need to make certain I have enough cold cuts to hold off the wolves of starvation.

VisitLaManzanilla said...

Best of luck in the storm, stay dry!

Anonymous said...

Steve, my thoughts are with you. Hope you can ride this one out with aplomb.

But you may reconsider the charms of a beach house after this. Personally I can't imagine living right on the water in a hurricane zone.

Hope your neighbors in what are doubtless less well-constructed houses ride it out as well.

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we every so often get the dregs of an Atlantic hurricane.

Steve Cotton said...

VisitLaManzanilla -- Are you out of the country or just over the hill? Either way, I hope all is well. Thanks for your thoughts.

Kim -- I asked for adventure; I am getting adventure. The fact that I feel as if I am on a cruise ship when I sit on the house balcony will be put to the test. The predictions are that the tide should increase only by 1 or 3 feet. That is a bit reassuring. But the neighbor tells me that during the summer, the tide will often meander into the back yards.

Nancy said...

Hey Steve, Good luck. I am praying it heads over to Baja instead of bothering us here in Maz.

Are you filling buckets with water for flushing and that kind of thing? Plenty of water to drink? A place set up for yourself away from the front of the house? Batteries in the flashlight? Candles?

I think the thing I discovered in our first big wind in our house is that some of the windows work themselves loose, and some windows leak, etc. The first storm is the shakedown cruise.

I hope it's actually a bit fun, look forward to hearing the news.

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- The tinaco is full. I have my bottled water. My earthquake flashlights are at hand. I will move to another bedroom if we get high winds. (The side of the house toward the ocean is all sliding glass doors.) I already discovered in our last rain that there are two major leaks in the house. Of course, the repairman is coming at the same time the storm is supposed to be passing through.

Jonna said...

Just saw this one heading for Barra and Melaque and headed over here to make sure you knew.

Sounds like you've got it covered. Have fun.

Beth said...

I wonder what new and interesting creatures will wash in with the tide.

Be safe (after all June is Safety Month - or is that just at SAIF?).

Steve Cotton said...

Jonna -- We are ready to earn our stripes on the hurricane tour. In truth, I would have been much happier to let the experience come later in the year. But here we are.

Beth -- Mexico is a land of adventure, not safety. Jiggs is looking forward to new friends arriving on the high tide. Or, at least, something new to sniff.

Anonymous said...

Stay dry!careful!

CancunCanuck said...

Hang in there young man, hopefully it's just an adventure and not a disaster! Will be thinking of all my west coast friends, keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Buena suerte....I am looking forward to hearing about your storm experiences. Kathe

Chrissy y Keith said...

You will probably get to experience Melaque under 2 feet of water. With the storm surge, the lagoon/river backs up and floods the entire area. They have tried to fix it a few times, and maybe 2 years ago they got it right. You shall find out shortly no doubt.

Islagringo said...

Glad you can take such a cavelier approach to the approaching trouble headed your way. Having lived through 5 hurricanes now, I take each one very seriously. Be safe, stay away from the windows and take everybody's advice. There are some good recommendations here. (don't every count on your tinaco water. They can be blown away. I have also seen the covers screwed off by the wind and then the wind sucks the water right out of them. Fill buckets.)

Larry in Mazatlan said...

Be sure to walk the beach right at the end. You'll discover some of the most amazing things. These really can be fun. Life is an adventure!


glorv1 said...

Well it sound like you are well prepared. Now just cuddle with Jiggs and take care. Best of luck. I'm sure all will be okay, but it should prove to be exciting.

Felipe said...

I had just moved to New Orleans in 1965 when Hurricane Betsy arrived dead-on. It was just one mph short of being a Category 5 when it hit the coast. I was 21 years old.

Anyone who has not been directly in the path of something like that cannot even begin to imagine what it´s like. It is a nightmare, nothing fun or interesting about it. It´s like a tornado that can last for hours. It is terrible.

Huge trees go from vertical to near horizontal. Hard things penetrate metal like bullets.

Being an almost lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast, I have been sideswiped a number of times by other hurricanes since, but there was never anything like Betsy.

The chances of your being in anything similar are tiny. I certainly hope so. You would not want to be on the beach.

Anonymous said...

Hola Steve! Your brother and I had a wonderful time in Florida with Irene, class 1. We had cousin Dan and Patty as our guides and walked around outside during the eye. Got some fabulous pics! Hope your storm/hurricane is a pleasant experience. Be safe and give Jiggs a hug!

Christy Delacour

1st Mate said...

Steve - One thing about the weather coming your way: you'll probably cool off. Just have buckets of water, candles and matches at the ready! It'll be an exciting time for you and Jiggs.

Babs said...

Make sure you hae a can opener in case your refrigeration is out for a week or so. I, like Felipe, lived on the Gulf Coast for over 40 years and have been through more then I ever wanted to go through.....yes Betsy which SANK a chlorine barge in Baton Rouge!
So, have enough canned goods and non-perishable items to live on. In fact when I moved to Mexico, my daughter said NOW can we throw out the "hurricane water" and assorted other items that I always kept ready - just in case.

Stay safe - another reson to be living in the mountains away from hurricane season......

Steve Cotton said...

Min -- I am doing my best. I think we are in the clear.

CancunCanuck -- It appears Andres may be headed out to sea, but it is still pointed at Baja. I hope it does not hit there. They have had enough hurricanes.

Kathe -- There may not be a lot to report -- fortunately.

Chrissy -- This hurricane does not appear to have much of a surge associated with it. Of course, if the 8 inches of rain predicted does fall, that drainage ditch is not going to do the job. Fortunately, Villa Obregon is relatively high ground -- as in a potential island.

Islandgringo -- Thanks for the very good advice. I may not need it today, but I am certain I will before the summer is over.

Larry -- Jiggs will insist.

Gloria -- I think anticlimactic is the word for the day.

Felipe -- Hurricanes are not the type of adventure I was seeking. I have never been in one, thoiugh I have been in major wind storms. I helped clean up Homestead Air Force Base after Andrew. It taught me to respect what hurricanes can do.

Christy -- Good to hear from another family member. Apparently, no eye for us.

1st Mate -- The weather has been pleasantly cool for the last three days. I am certain that will soon be rectified.

Babs -- In Oregon I always had a cupboard filled with canned goods -- especially for the days when the power went out. Canned goods are so rare here, I have not built up a supply. Perhaps a trip to Costco in Puerto Vsallarta is in my future.

Al said...

Your first tropical storm? Where were you October 12, 1963? (I was in Eugene on the U of O campus.)

Steve Cotton said...

Al -- The Columbus Day storm does not count as a tropical storm. It was extratropical because of its origins. But I remember it well. The year was actually 1962. I was still in grade school (barely). My brother and I went out into the storm on our bicycles. We decided to head home when the trees and power lines startd coming down. It was far more powerful than Andres ever threatened to be. But we were boys. And my memory is not of fear, but of fascination.