Well, here it is, the first tropical system of the 2012 hurricane season to threaten Belize. Seems that Tropical Storm Ernesto, likely soon to be Hurricane Ernesto, has his sights set on either northern Belize, where we live, or southern Mexico. The track seems to change every few hours, sometimes looking better for us, sometimes worse. The more north he goes, the better, as the strongest winds and heaviest rains will be north of the eye. So, with apologies to our neighbor Mexico, we are hoping he heads up that way and not to Belize City south of where we live on the island of Ambergris Caye!
Since our condo is right on the ocean, and on the first floor to boot (about 7' above sea level), we obviously have to take storms like this seriously. However, Belize's offshore reef means that the wave action here is virtually nil, and storm surge extremely tempered. I wouldn't feel comfortable owning a first-floor, ocean-front condo on the Atlantic Ocean, but it's definitely a bit different here in Belize because of the reef.
Our building, right on the Caribbean Sea
Waves break over the barrier reef, not on the shoreline
We are also fortunate because our building ("Chico Caribe") is built for hurricanes. It's new and all-concrete, and we have hurricane-strength sliding doors facing the ocean. Even luckier, the five owners in the building all pitched in and bought a high-capacity generator for the building during construction. It comes on automatically during all power outages and runs all our appliances. So, if there is a power outage, we lose only cable TV and internet, and everything else keeps right on cranking along as if nothing happened. It's kind of eerie looking out our windows and seeing the rest of Grand Caribe dark, aside from a few emergency lights, while our building is still lit up brightly. The generator wasn't cheap, but every time the power goes out, we feel very lucky indeed.
We also don't have to worry too much about our water supply as Grand Caribe's water plant, which our building shares with them, is on a back-up generator, so at least as long as the generator has fuel, we'll have water for drinking and flushing.
So, our hurricane prep is not nearly as involved as others on the island without a generator, who might lose power and water for an extended period of time in a significant storm and thus need to stock up on water, flashlights, batteries, and food that doesn't require any cooking.
We have been talking to some of the workers here at the resort, and tomorrow morning they plan to take all the pool furniture to a safe place. We'll be doing the same with our veranda table and chairs, and we'll take the screens off our windows as they are lightweight and might be subject to blowing around. That's about all the preparations we really plan to do so long as this storm remains a Category 1 hurricane or lower. Yes, we are getting off pretty easy.
This furniture from our pool, and a lot more from Grand Caribe's three pools, will be secured inside tomorrow
Although we did have a brief shower earlier, right now it's gorgeous out and very calm -- the proverbial calm before the storm. Hard to imagine a huge tropical storm is lurking out there.
Since we may be without internet access for awhile, I can't promise when I'll be able to do an "after" post on the storm, but I'll try to update the blog just as soon as possible after the storm hits and we're back online. Current projections have it hitting land at 2 am on Wednesday morning. Stay tuned!