it's going to be a long summer

it’s going to be a long summer

I’m just going to say it and get it over with. I’m too old for this stuff! I think hurricanes and other disastrous equivalent storms are for the young(er) at heart…or for storm chasers (regardless of age).

Of the 13 years I’ve lived here, the first 11 hurricane seasons consisted of “waiting it out” and by that I literally mean waiting. Waiting for an approaching storm to be recategorized as a passing storm by local forecasters.

That’s just the way it was. Every year there was at least one system that would set its sights on our coast and barrel toward us only to divert at the last hour. More times than not, those storms would get carried off northward on the east side of Cozumel.

We barely ever got the rain let alone the wind. Gosh how that has changed.

Even though things have changed, I still wait. Mexico has trained me to wait. Even this year with approaching Grace, I still waited for her to be officially acknowledged as a hurricane. And unfortunately, she was. So much for my hoping she would stay depressed.

Six weeks into our 2021 hurricane season and we’ve already been hit. Unbelievable! As I sit here typing, I can hear neighbors chopping and cleaning the broken bits and pieces she left behind in her Category 1 wake.

While not nearly as disastrous as last year’s two back-to-back no-fun hurricanes, Grace still made her presence known as she roared through the region during the night. Her band of winds began arriving around 2:00 a.m. I doubt she woke anyone since the entire region was waiting for her.

The center arrived around 6:00 a.m. and made landfall about 80 kilometers south of where I live in Playa del Carmen. While we were spared that direct hit, those in the poorer southern regions were not.

It seems unfair since a majority of the homes in that area are makeshift with wood stick walls and sheet metal roofs. Some, with a bit more money or men with know-how, will have a stronger grass palapa roof instead. Either way, they are no match for any hurricane.

As for myself, my neighbors, my region, we were lucky in that our cleanup was successful with nothing more than a machete and rake. While men chopped, women broomed their concrete pads clean again, freeing them of Grace.

One day after cleanup, the NOAA posted three more Atlantic systems, one of which is heading in our direction. I know I’ve said this already, but I really want to say it again. I’m too old for this stuff. If you’re thinking of moving here, this is an annual consideration you’ll need to put into your thought-pot. Hurricanes. The possibility of one, many or none. Every year. For five months. From July 1 to November 30.

No one ever knows what we’re going to get…or not get. Not now. Not that things have changed. I feel the stress of it moreso since I’m here alone and deal with all this nonsense on my own. By nonsense I mean protecting my house, stocking up on provisions, tarp-wrapping my Jeep, trimming vegetation, doing all the things that need doing without forgetting anything. And then of course waiting out the storm solo (it’s not nearly as fun as it sounds) and when it does arrive, comforting a small dog who is terrified of what’s outside. He’s not the only one.

I have come to accept that the days of “last minute diverting” storms are gone, and as a permanent resident who has her entire life built here, you need to just always be ready. No matter how tired you are or how old you feel. In the meantime, the only thing I can says is it’s going to be a long summer.