We were prepared for a storm, not a natural disaster. As anyone reading this probably knows Cabo was trashed on Sunday night, September 15, 2014, by Hurricane Odile. On Saturday we went to bed with the prediction of a near miss by a Category 1 hurricane. When we woke up on Sunday the prediction had been changed: a direct hit by a Category 4. By that time there was really not much to do but maybe buy more food and stress.
What actually happened? We got a direct hit by a Category 3 (on winds) and a Category 5 (on pressure), three tornados and a 4.5 magnitude earthquake. Cabo’s perfect storm.
Don’t ask me about the storm. I’m sure it’s just a coping mechanism but my memory of the actual storm has been pretty much blanked out. I recall the family being in the ‘safe’ area of the home protected by hurricane screens, then windows popping and running to another room and finally downstairs into a window-less hallway. I recall driving through the eye to try and find safety, being turned down at the Wyndham because of the dogs, and then driving home. It was harrowing. No wonder the rest is blanked.
Thank God (and I’m not taking that in vain) we were in Mexico. When it comes to disaster relief my adopted country has their act totally together. I’m in awe. Both local people and the officials just instantly starting pitching in to help. I’m not there right now (wish I were) but am keeping close tabs on the recovery and everyone I’m in touch with agrees it is going much faster than anticipated. Cabo should be back open for tourism as soon as next week.
Now, every year I’ve blogged about hurricane preparedness, including this year. I stand by most of it, but have found a few things I’d like to add based on having experienced the worst hurricane in the history of Baja.
In addition to everything in the three blogs previously posted I need to add three items to put in your kit:
- HEAVY LEATHER WORK GLOVES. I believe I did note real shoes (not sandals) to avoid stepping in glass. But when you’re cleaning up multiple windows and doors you’ll want to protect your hands, too. We’ve swept up before but this is the first time we had to handle window FRAMES full of broken shards. Gloves. Get them.
- FACE MASKS. My good friend had to be hospitalized for a day from the effects of breathing so much dust. Having face masks in the hurricane kit might prevent that.
- ANTIQUE PRINCESS PHONE. Remember phones that plugged into the wall? And handsets that had cords to the body of the phone? People who had one of those did not lose their phone service and were able to notify family of their condition. The rest of us were and remain cut off from the world.
One other note. After Hurricane Marty I informed Bob that he need never buy me a birthday, anniversary or Christmas present if he just got me a generator. He did. Much of my preparation was predicated on having that generator up and running. It failed. And so began the migration of the dog’s food. Here’s the thing…. I had to keep moving it (and the wonderful friend now in charge of their care continues to) as other generators failed. So it wasn’t just us. Bob is thinking if we had run it more often, I don’t know. I just know that you can’t bank on your generator. I do know one of the neighbors’ continued to run UNTIL THE PROPANE RAN OUT. So topping off your propane tank should also be added to your hurricane preparedness list.
Wow. We camped out but due to health concerns we evacuated Bob after four days. I can’t say enough about the people who handled that. It’s not easy being here while so much is going on there, but luckily for me we’re surrounded by good people who are taking care of the girls, have secured the house and are staying there for us. I’m just overwhelmed. We’ve even had to turn help away! If you think I loved the people of Cabo before…. Well…. That was nothing to what I feel after the worst. Hopefully these lessons will never be needed, but just in case. I’ll sign off with what has become our rallying cry: CABO STRONG!!!
Carol Billups is Broker/Owner of Cabo Realty Pros. She has enjoyed working with both buyers and sellers for over thirteen years and still thinks hers is the best job on earth. She is also the real estate columnist for Los Cabos Magazine. You can read more of her articles on the website blog http://www.caborealtypros.com. You can reach her from the U.S. or Canada at 1-760-481-7694, or in Cabo at 044-624-147-7541. You can listen to our 24/7 broadcast on http://www.livecabo.net for a mix of happy music, weather reports and local information.
© 2014 Carol S. Billups