Sunday, January 07, 2018

September 20, 2017, Wednesday, waiting for the hurricane to begin

Wednesday, September 20, Waiting for the hurricane to begin

Since dawn changed the black night to a pale grey morning, the light hasn't changed. It could be morning, afternoon or evening. The sky and light are like lead, heavy and grey. The wind has been picking up all through the day.

Our original plan was to move up here to Andrea's house on Calle E "on the base," this morning. After watching the reports and forecasts, we decided to move up last night. We are so glad we did.

We got to Andrea's house with Amber and Oz about 9:00 o'clock last night. Just before 10:00 pm all the lights went out.

 The electric company turned off the grid in anticipation of the the storm. By this morning, when we would have have been moving, winds were already near tropical storm strength. We could have moved this morning but it would have been very difficult.

10:00 am - The wind has picked up even more. Hums. Roars. Whistles.

10:40 am - The street in front of the house is flooded. We watch random pieces of roof and the odd satellite dish float by. We safe here. We're not afraid for ourselves. I'm no \t sure we would feel the same in our house by the beach. We are so grateful to Marie and and Christine and Andrea for making this safe bunker possible.

 Noon: The eye of the hurricane must be near. The pressure changes are crazy; our ears are going nuts.

The wind pounding pounding pounding.

We're sending prayers into the universe to keep our horses safe.

Now we hear voices in the wind. Sometimes it sounds like singing, sometimes whistling and sometimes even a sneeze. The infinite wind sounds continue to amaze us.

2:30-ish pm The eye is right over us. At least we think it's the eye. People are coming out of their bunker houses and picking up debris. Is it the eye or not? It's not supposed to be the eye over us. According to all the tracks - the last time we saw them (was it really only night before last?) - the eye was supposed leave the island between Hatillo and Aricibo, well east of here.

If this is the eye, it's a very strange eye. It's not really calm - there is still wind. It is still spitting rain.
The sky is still grey, not blue and sunny. People are out, looking at the damage, starting to pick up debris. Maybe it really is over.

I decided to take a chance and go to check on our friends Carole and Rolf. They are only a few blocks away. There are lots of trees and poles and wires down. Some streets are completely blocked It was an adventure getting there but the real adventure was getting back.

The wind started to pick up again. That was the eye! A huge eye! It lasted nearly two hours. By 4:00 pm winds were back to tropical storm strength. By 6:00 we were in the midst of the back side of a full-fledged hurricane again. The dim daylight fades into the second night of the hurricane.

All the wonders of modern electronic communication are shut down useless. No cell phones, no Internet, no email. No electricity. Through the howl of the storm we can't even let our neighbors 30 feet away know we are alright.

We watched a car parked across the street turn 90 degrees in the wind. It was parked perpendicular to the road and the wind turned it parallel. The wind caught the plastic rear bumper and peeled it off like a piece of orange peel.

One of the first things that attracted us to the west side of Puerto Rico was the infiinite variation in the colors of the ocean. Blues and greens and turquoise, colors that don't even have names. Sometimes they are subtle like a watercolor, sometimes brilliant like an Impressionist painting, sometimes crystalline and faceted like a fine gem stone. Listening to the hurricane through the night,the sounds become line those colors. The storms sound is not one continuous roar but sound with endless variations, undercurrents and undertones. 

A roar like a jet plane taking off but isn't. A high whistle where the wind finds a crack; a low hum line blowing over the mouth of a bottle. The shriek squeak of a hurricane shutter. The thrum thrum deep tympani sound of the higher gusts.

The rain has a completely different sound.

There are foreign sounds in the mix, like metal roof pieces tearing loose and banging, ripped off, flying on the wind, slamming into whatever is in their way. We watched one piece fly across the street and crash into the wall just below our window. It worked it's way around until it jammed itself between the door and the car parked next to the door. For hours through the night one corner banged first on the house door and then on the car. There was no way to safely get out to move it. Finally it slid beneath the car and wedged itself there.

We try to sleep, try to keep the dogs calm. Every time we think the storm must have reached it's peak, it gets stronger.

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