Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hurry up and Wait

It seems like we've been waiting for Hurricane Rina for a long time. Last Sunday was when I really started paying attention to the storm which was not even a tropical depression at that point. Forecasts predicted the storm would reach tropical depression status by Tuesday, and never forecast a hurricane.

Well, 19 hrs later and we had a hurricane, cat 1 - projected to become a cat 3 by the time it would hit us on Thursday. We were right in the path, but as experience dictates, on Monday we didn't do anything to prepare for a hurricane. Too soon because of the unpredictability of these things. We did do a mini-prep at one house where the owners had just left and it had to be closed up we took in the outside furniture while we were at it.

Tuesday's forecast was not good - we were still on the direct path for a cat 3 hurricane, and with 8 homes to worry about, it was time to get moving. We also had a check-in at a condo that evening - guests who were not aware of the approaching hurricane, and even worse, no idea what to do (i.e., buy candles and food supplies). So that day four homes were shut up with hurricane shutters or boards, and the check-in guests were given a mini-education on what to expect and how to reach us (or not, and why).

That left the condo, our own two homes, and one other home where the owner was leaving Wednesday morning (on his regularly scheduled flight). The condo management company would deal with the condo units, our homes would be last on the list, so the focus turned to that final home right on the ocean side. We cleared up all possible projectiles (big shells), and put the electronics in a closet inside the home. Later Miguel rounded up a strong helper and they put up some boards - one more house checked off.

By this time yesterday we already knew that the hurricane was downgraded to be a tropical storm by the time it got to us, so preps on our own homes stopped. Even with a tropical storm there will be high winds and water inside the house, and some plants will have damage from the burning winds - but we do not need to worry about boarding up the doors and windows.

I have kept the cats inside for the last couple of days - partly because the furniture they like to rest on out back has been put away, partly because of intermittent drizzle, and partly because I cannot leave the back door open due to mosquitoes. They are getting tired of being inside.

Loco has not enjoyed being out on the front terrace - he can hear thunder off in the distance (or thinks he does). We don't hear anything but Loco hates thunder so if he is outside he crawls into the garden, in a hole by the side wall. He gets himself all tangled in the plants. So he's been inside most of the last few days too - with a lot of time spent under the beds.

Today I took Loco out for a bathroom break. Across the road is where we often toss stale bread, and unwanted leftovers. Today Loco stopped to look at the little pile of plants there, and as I watched, I saw a little mouse picking through the plant debris for bits of food. The mouse was sitting up eating with his front paws, and Loco went right up to it and stuck his nose on its head to see what it was (we joke that Loco needs glasses, he doesn't seem to see really well with objects close up or far away). Surprisingly the mouse was not a bit scared of Loco - it was a Kodak moment, the tiny mouse and the dog with the big black nose pressed against the head of the mouse. Alas, no camera.

The rest of the island is closed up - they would not do that for a tropical storm but until this morning the storm was still a hurricane, so everyone has to be prepared for the worst. Now we no longer expect a hurricane (thank goodness), but we are patiently waiting it out for the winds and blowing rain to hit. The strange part about this particular storm is that it is not going to pass through and be on its way - no, it's going to come over us tonight and tomorrow, and then loop back around and revisit us as a tropical depression. There will be lots of rain over the next few days - tourists will be unhappy with the bad weather, and the islanders will deal with flooded homes and streets. It could have been worse, it could have been a hurricane.

But whatever level of storm it's going to be, I just wish it would get here so we could stop waiting.


KfromMichigan said...

The waiting is the absolute worst. I'm glad it was downgraded. Would love to have seen Loco and the mouse!

Ann said...

Glad to hear it has been downgraded & hope it passes quickly so you can get back to "normal"

Natalia said...

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God luck with rina, enjoy the sound of the rain!!


Life's a Beach! said...

I saw that loop today on the storm track. Too bad Rina's retreat will end up making for more rainy days and flooded streets. I'm glad the storm is diminishing, but I bet it's been a long week!

karenwl said...

Hang in there and keep us posted.

Jackie said...

I was glad to hear that things were not as bad as predicted. Sounds like very little damage on the island. Just a lot of water.