Reportedly no hurricane has made landfall in Costa Rica in over 170 years of weather records . . . until now. We sit and wait in suspense to see what Otto’s impact and aftermath will be. No one has ever experienced a hurricane here before, so there is no point of reference. An earthquake, yes, volcanoes erupting – no big deal! -, but not a hurricane.
Otto is due to make landfall sometime around noon in Northern Costa Rica/Southern Nicaragua, most likely as a Category 2 hurricane. There have already been 4 deaths reported in Panama and the Costa Rican Caribbean Coast has been evacuated. School and events (no Black Friday!) – have been cancelled or postponed for the next few days, although I hear that the Guns N Roses concert in San Jose will go on this weekend (musicians!).
Welcome to The Jungle indeed!
We were going to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends, turkey and all, but on Tuesday we all decided it was best to postpone our feast due to all the uncertainty. In the end we figured it was less stressful, especially for those who would have had to get in their cars and drive. Mind you – our friends only live 9 miles away, but even without the hurricane it would take 35-40 minutes to drive there on these narrow, curvy, pot-hole ridden, slow tractor and bus-driven Costa Rican roads. Add in a mudslide and not only would we never make it, but most likely we would be stranded. And that would not be a Thanksgiving anyone would want to remember!
Over here in Poas and the Central Valley the rain has picked up a little this morning, but the wind has not . . . yet. Honestly it is quite uneventful at the moment, with wind and rain like a normal wet season day, but as I said, we wait in anticipation. We have saved water, cooked up some food and have put our outdoor furniture in the garage.
Even if the 8000′-12,000′ mountains and volcanoes of Costa Rica weaken Otto, there is still the mystery of the aftermath of all the extra rain that is being dumped here. Costa Rica is prone to mudslides and landslides. The wind gusts could easily blow down trees and power lines.
If you have followed me on social media, you will know that we are used to doing without electricity, water, hot water, the internet on a regular basis, but for short amounts of time (thankfully). So I can say to some degree that we are prepared for these outages.
The infrastructure here is not the worst, but it is also not the best (mostly due to geography challenges and weather).
Worst case scenario for Costa Rica are power outages, no water to homes and no cell phone service. Hopefully those who are more vulnerable will be wise by seeking proper shelter and staying out of the high winds during the storm. Due to mudslides and other possible obstacles produced by Otto, it may be hard to get around, which also means it may be more difficult for stores and gas stations to replenish. Fortunately, the Costa Rican government has issued emergency warnings, including via text message, so I pray the word has gotten out to most Ticos about this unique weather experience.
Being from Texas, this all sounds familiar, but being in another culture which has not experienced a hurricane and the after-effects, I’m just going to have to prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and see what happens.
I am grateful for much in my life, for being in this beautiful country and for the shelter, electricity, internet, water, and food that I have to ride out this storm.
I pray for the effects of this hurricane to be minimal, and I pray for all Central American communities and their safety.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We appreciate your prayers to get us through this unusual one here in Costa Rica.
See you on the other side of Otto,