By Lorenzo from the November 2011 Edition
Or musings of a muchacho on the two days visit by Hurricane Jova to Manzanillo
I honestly thought we would be spared the Taste of Jova and actually was quite happy and relieved about this, I didn’t really want to do a hurricane no matter how exciting and glamorous they might appear in movies. But by 7:30pm Tuesday night I knew something more was lurking and amiss in the shadows of the totally rainy day we had had…”could be, who knows…” We had talked at coffee that morning that Jova was going to turn out to be much like a normal summer tormenta, maybe having the rain last longer than the usual 2 or 3 hours a tormenta might. Maybe a bit breezier…
Tuesday, When I woke up Tuesday morning to rainy, wet skies the temp was 78F. The temperature dropped all day long ending up at 72F when I took my observation patio chair after lights out. There were explosions of turquoise lightning going on all over the place. I thought it was transformers exploding at first, but there was no loud explosions. There was no thunder, just these turquoise bursts of light.
Around 11pm the wind became fierce. It blew some of the coconuts off the tree right off my patio! Palms are remarkably flexible! All the fronds seem to now be on the left side of the tree now, where before they were equally spaced around the tree trunk. At midnight with the wind howling even more, I figured I’d go to bed and try to sleep. You can only watch and listen to the weather in the dark for so long. Nina (the cat) had hightailed it under the bed when the wind first became strong; it made a lot of noise passing through the wet fronds of the palm. Overall, the wind was moaning through all the trees like it does in Seattle in a windstorm, though I believe this is the first time I have heard it do so in México.
I walked around the inside of my place with a flashlight checking things before I went to bed. Water was coming in under my front door, the stairwell was now like a waterfall I saw when I opened my front door, luckily they had built a little dam in front of our doors on the second floor or it would have been worse. It also would come in under the back door to the patio. Somehow water was seeping in at the outside corner of the back bedroom. Water was coming in and dripping down the walls where the air conditioners in both bedrooms are connected to their fans on the roof in the outside world. Nothing major, I mopped it up quickly, and just as quickly the water re-emerged. I went to bed, wishing I could open the door to my balcony in the bedroom to hear Jova better, but she was actually quite audible with Nina and I ensconced indoors, shut off from her intensity.
Wednesday: I watched the weather in the dark on my patio again with the last weather update at around 5:30 a.m.. The wind had died down and it was just very breezy, rain still falling but not with its earlier intensity so went back to bed
The clouds and rain of Jova kept trying to prevent daybreak, but around 7:30 a.m. I got up from my last and longest ‘nap’ of the night to the dim light of morning, Columbus Day, or El Dia de la Raza here. It was light enough to see what was going on, light enough to wander about except for the 18″ of water filling the streets in my area
I don’t know how deep the water in the yard got during night. With the rain lessening the last two hours but at this moment it was a few inches below the patio chairs’ seats. At 10:30 a.m. Jeff and I made a tour of the neighbourhood. We should have left earlier, as it was getting pretty quiet when we left the building. There was much debris everywhere, nature- and man-made. Everything was closed for the most part. There was little traffic, few folk wandering the streets. Buses and taxis were non-existent for the most part. After Jeff went home I crossed the boulevard at Wal-Mart to go to the beach again. The waves, thought not exceedingly large, were still angry and chocolate brown. The entire bay was chocolaty. During the night the ocean had deposited much flotsam and jetsam along its shore.
I walked the beach up to the back parking lot of Plaza Manzanillo, Las Hadas Golf Course is to the left. Only today it is the Las Hadas River complete with rapids! No matter which direction you look on the former golf course, now rolls a river. After seeing the new Rio Las Hadas I decided I needed to walk up the boulevard to the Jardin de Salahua to check it out more. This is where I discovered the ‘headwaters’ of the new Rio Las Hadas.
The numerous arroyos in the area, have sat most of their recent lives, dry, remembering days of long ago when they flowed as creeks and streams, maybe even a river. Then man arrived and carved up the land, thus diverting their paths with buildings and other constructions to an unknown future. These little parched gullies, gathering weeds and trash, had obviously been waiting for a night like this. The occasional summer “tormentas” each year tease them to remember an almost forgotten greatness that now lay hidden away in the hard packed layers of soil and time that constrict their breadth and depth more with each passing year. But then an infrequent hurricane meanders ashore brushing away these new limiting boundaries, giving the arroyo a new expansiveness that exceeds its more recent, confined course.
It can no longer control or contain itself, and it bursts forth with abandon threatening those who had dared to alter and redefine it’s natural course. Sometimes with great devastation.
Remarkably, people here in Manzanillo seemed to be well prepared for Jova’s arrival. Thanks to the government’s warnings and her slow movement. There are areas of heavy damage throughout town. We have heard of 8 deaths but they are all outside of Manzanillo in neighboring towns. There’s still mud in streets. There’s still only one way into town, the others all blocked with mud and/or rock slides or damaged bridges. The airport (right parallel to and on the Pacific) is closed for 2 weeks.
They were saying earlier that Tropical Storm Irwin is on it’s way but one hurricane a lifetime is probably enough for me.