The Thing About Hurricanes ….

The thing about hurricanes is that you wait.  You wait.  And you watch.  And you wait.

You watch the forecasts. You follow the track.  You read winds and rainfall predictions.  And you wait.

Increasingly accurate science guides minute by minute revised assessments.  Aircraft fly into the heart of the storm, measure the winds, the barometric pressure … Weather crew assess surrounding patterns – how point of high and low pressure will affect the movement of the storm.

And you wait.  A sunny morning grows cloudy. Then clears. Then darkens again.  The rises.  Then falls.  You watch the tides. Time landfall land with wind speed predictions.

This time, this early .. Hurricane Blanca ‘appears’ to bear wind and rain, and will approach land as tropical storm, her energy spent as she enters cooler waters.  A glancing blow.  A prayer or two.

And you wait ….

The Track of Hurricane Odile

Horricane Odile's Track up  the Spine of Baja

Horricane Odile’s Track up the Spine of Baja

I am a storm watcher/lover .. but this one, Odile, may be hard to love. While I’ve been stateside for the duration, my heart and energies have been focused on Baja – the long skinny peninsula that is my second home.

Odile – as you can see from the graphic – drove straight up the spine of Baja and has been called ‘the most powerful hurricane to ever hit Baja’. Her track was unusual – the bulk of her interaction with land was on top of land, not at sea. She maintained hurricane status for the bulk of her journey. The desert cannot absorb rain when it comes too hard and too fast, and rushes down canyons and flashes out arroyos to the sea. And then there was the wind …

Power is out. Phones are down. The early photographs of Cabo show horrible damages – and to a city that has a very substantial infrastructure and in new construction, modern building codes. The rest of the Baja – maybe not so.

It’s horrible not knowing what happened to my neighbors and the town. One video shot from the top of the Mission Hotel shows waves breaking on to of the malecon. I can only imagine that the streetfront businesses had minor to major flooding.

A brief cell phone call late yesterday afternoon from my next door neighbor – how it got through I have no idea – said that her house was totally flooded from the horizontal rain – that she’d gone through all the towels – wrung them out – and the water was still coming in. Her fans had been ripped off – and then she had to go. No power to recharge her one lifeline to the outside world.

Loreto was hard hit – that’s obvious from the storm track and early reports before power was cut. But Loreto, too, has a decent infrastructure – and some of the most resilient people I have ever known. All of Baja for that matter. Shovels, mops, bulldozers will be hard at work before the rain drizzles have stopped.

The most pressing issue will be the roads and flash flooding that Odile has likely caused. Mex One is the lifeblood of the peninsula and trucking of supplies has the one route north and south. Unlike the states, when the roads was out, everyone that is able jumps into help. Tractors tow semi-trucks through washing and mud-laden arroyos. Boulders get moved off the road. New paths are created around obstacles. There is no shutting down the highway for months while surveyors decide what to do and budgets have to be settled and contracts awarded. Nope. Just get on with getting on and move people and goods. Detailed repairs will happen later.

This morning, all prayers to those who lost homes, autos – whatever Odile threw at them. And hopes that hands together, a speedy recovery can be made.

And then .. there is the next storm.  Really? Polo? Please please head west …….

None of the forecasts look good …

Hurricane Odile set to make landfall / Cat 3 Storm

Hurricane Odile set to make landfall / Cat 3 Storm

With Odile just miles from Cabo San Lucas, winds and rain blast their way across the region. 22 airlines canceled flights in and out of city. Evacuations of up to 30,000 people are possible. Forecast is for up to 18″ of rain – okay – that’s a LOT OF RAIN!!! And sustained winds at around 135 mph. The imagery looks as if the storm is swallowing the Baja.