Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thursday with Hurricane Juan

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Juan
1am Thursday morning
It's in the middle of the night in Chacala, and I just checked the hurricane website. We are in the Hurricane watch area now. They seem to expect Juan to be here in about 10 hours. But no one knows how close to land it will be when it gets to the 22N latitude, where Chacala is.

I am glad my son is here, but it's still hard to know what to do, or how to prepare. I am imagining the refrigerator flying thru the air and alot of flooding on the north side of the house, which already has a problem. Besides losing electricity, etc. I am assuming my plant are going to blow away.

I am inclined to stuff things away in plastic bags in nooks and crannies, but there are no protected places in this house, and it's hard to figure out how to protect things. I think we will probably pack what we can carry in the morning and get away from the ocean. The next hurricane report is at 5am, so we will check that one and decided what to do. And see what other people in Chacala are doing.

Well, it's almost 10am on Thursday. It just started raining seriously in Chacala after overcast skies and light sprinkles since daylight. I surveyed a dozen people around town about 8am and no one seems to be planning on leaving. Or at least, they say they aren't leaving. Everyone expects the eye of the storm to stay over the ocean and away from land.

We tidied up everything and are ready to be out of here in three minutes if necessary. The best thing about the houses around here is the roofs are cement and steel and brick, and the windows are screened with metal security grates with the bars at eight inch. No glass. Just have to worry about flying objects and stuff getting soaked with rain. The roof is unlikely to blow off. Mud might get washed away on the north side of the house if it rains really hard for quite awhile. My plants are going to have to survive on their own. They are homes to too many insects to bring inside.

A volunteeer town crew is clearing the new town park/clinica site, and constructions were still working all over town as of a few minutes ago. So far it's business as usual, I think. We have som offers to go to other houses if we get scared, and that's reassuring. Everyone seems to expect people who are on the beach to be in trouble and have property damage. And then there's Chacalilla. It's most out on a point.

That's it for now. I am going to go learn how to use my new digital camera. And finish tucking things away. Chiquita just arrived and took a spot under my son's chair. We are hanging out on the veranda, reading and watching the weather when we're not checking the weather reports or moving things around. I am so glad he's here. My son, I mean. Not Chiquita. I guess her being here means Susana isn't back yet. But how knows.

Thursday, 1pm
It'ss still, overcast and occasional drizzles in Chacala. Changing, as I write, to heavier rain. The sky is overcast, not cloudy or stormy looking. The birds are still singing and workers are still working.

People in Chacala seem to be hoping the storm will continue to stay over the ocean and not come any closer to land. A neighbor was just here, and she thought having all my plants pushed up against the house was ridiculous. People in Chacala have strong memories of Hurricane Kenna, four years ago. And there are bits and remmants of its destructive force all over town.

At this moment, it's hard to imagine a big storm coming, but it seems clear it will be here in a couple of hours. We are packed for a quick escape, but it would probably be too late to leave by the time we decide it's necessary. The rain is definitely getting heavier as I write.

I have spent the morning learning how to take photos with my new digital camera, care of my son and my ex. Distracting myself.

People writing me from the towns south of here, where Juan has already passed thru are saying it was not too bad . Lots of rain and wind, not much else, so I am optimistic.
Maria, my friend and gardening mentor in Chacala

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