Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rock me like a Hurricane

I'll repost this tomorrow with pictures.

I like lists.  They are neat and orderly.  You can compare lists.  They are a good way of measuring things.  One of the lists that I have is that I want to live through (with the obvious emphasis on surviving) every sort of natural disaster.  I already have quite a few checked off -

  • Tornadoes - numerous.  Most notable would be at Hy-Vee or camping with the speech group.
  • Blizzards - hell, I had four last year (Snowmageddon in Dec., then Christmas blizzard in Omaha, then the two storm Snowpocalypse in February)
  • Floods - flood of 1993 in Iowa is most memorable, but also a few other small ones
  • Earthquake - a small tremor woke me up in St. Louis in the spring of 2008
  • Volcanic eruption - Mt. Etna, December 2002.
The biggest natural disaster that I had not yet experienced was a hurricane.  I'll be honest.  I always thought hurricanes were a bit overblown.  It's just a little bit of wind and they give you three days notice.  How bad could it be?  Well, after this storm, I am singing a bit of different tune.

First of all, the warnings are helpful.  You aren't surprised by a hurricane the way you are surprised by a tornado.  You are definitely less likely to be killed by a hurricane IF YOU PREPARE FOR IT.  Here's the problem, there are so many close calls that you tend to ignore the storm until the day before or the day of the storm.  Hurricane Richard is the fourth tropical storm that has been in the vicinity of Belize (Alex, Igor, and Matthew) in the four months that I have been here.  None of the previous storms had any kind of bite.  The build up of these storms is so often overblown that I had a group of friends who were headed out to a private caye this weekend and who actually went on Saturday, figuring the storm would blow over.  (They smartly changed their minds and returned home Saturday night).

The other thing I failed to understand was how constant the wind was.  I guess I always heard them talk about "sustained winds of 70 mphs with gusts of up to 100 mph."  But, I guess I always assumed that the wind was similar to wind storms that I have been in.  Those are usually gust followed by calm, followed by gust, etc. etc.  SO, that is what I was expecting with the hurricane.  But, that's not what happens.  Sustained wind means sustained wind.  It was blowing constantly without let-up for a good two hours.  For an hour in the middle, it was just unbelievable.  And this was a category 1 or 2.  I don't think I can imagine one of the really big ones.

There are some trees down around the housing compound.  Specifically, a tree fell on my house.  I can't see any structural damage, but the large tree is definitely leaning on the house.  There are also a ton of branches in my driveway, so I can't get out without moving them.  

Anyway, now I can cross "hurricane off the list.
  • Hurricane (2010 - Hurricane Richard).
  • Forrest fire
  • Mud slide
  • Typhoon
  • Tsunami

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