Tag Archives: preparedness

Preparing For Our First Hurricane

7 Aug

As The Tortas approach three years of retirement on Laguna Bacalar in Southern Mexico, our first hurricane was predicted to arrive Wednesday evening with up to 75 mph winds and twelve inches of rain. We live about thirty miles as the crow flies from the Caribbean, separated by water and mangroves and not much else. As with all hurricanes, much depends on their direction and intensity. We watched the sky and prepared for the worst.


A Beautiful Day For A Hurricane

We hired workers to help us prepare. They cut dead branches, put away outdoor plants and furniture, tied up the kayaks and set sand bags in place. Our concern was for water barreling down the hill toward the house, if we got the foot of rain that was predicted.


Machetes Were Flying Trimming Trees


Plants Off The Roof and Kayaks Secure


Reinforcing the Dock

As predicted the rain started late Wednesday afternoon. And then it stopped. We waited. Everything we could do was done, so it was time for the TORTAS first ever hurricane party!


Dinner, Dominos and Drinks with Neighbors

During the night Earl turned south and took the brunt of its damage to Belize. Lisa slept through the wind which was hardly more than any tropical storm that blows through Bacalar. We had several heavy showers over the next few days, and that was all. Almost disappointing.


The Islands Of Belize Were Not So Lucky


Thursday morning with intense skies and waves.

While we are grateful for the lack of damage we received, we are much more aware of the amount of work it takes to be prepared. In the future, a generator, hurricane shutters and improved drainage could cut the time in half. Lesson learned.



Mexico Dodged A Bullet

25 Oct

I find it hard to believe the media. Was hurricane Patricia an anomaly or was it hype? Either way, I’m very happy that there wasn’t catastrophic damage and loss of life to the people of western Mexico. 


Thanks to our friends Karen and Skip of Tulum for this perspective of our distance from the storm. Mexico is three times bigger than Texas.


I lived in Okinawa, Japan for two years and experienced two typhoons. A tornado once touched down across the street from our house outside of Austin, Texas. We were unscathed through it all. My first experience with a category five hurricane was Katrina. I was working for the Texas Department of State Health Services at the time. I volunteered to help and was assigned to work in the command center. What an eye-opening experience! Between hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes, the world has learned the hard way about preparedness.



After - The kitchen shelves were installed this week. I'm still in awe.

After – The kitchen shelves were installed this week. I’m still in awe.

Living so close to the coast, we have different preparedness needs than many. Our main concern is wind. To that end we will install hurricane shutters on the Laguna side. The house is a concrete bunker and there is a drainage system both inside and out.

A fountain and pond on the north side of the house.

A fountain and pond on the north side of the house.

Texas has a great preparedness website if you need help. Any emergency plan is better than none. One thing we will be sure to have is a can of gas. Stations ran out of fuel as people headed inland to avoid Patricia. My daughter who lives on the U.S west coast fault line has a kit for her dog as well. As new dog owners, this is new territory for us. What’s your plan? DOS TORTAS



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