We were thankful to wake up this morning with only the backside of Hurricane (now tropical storm again) Ernesto to contend with. Although Ernesto did strengthen to a category 1 hurricane before he made landfall, he did end up tracking north of us and made landfall along Mexico's Yucatan peninsula last night at around 11pm. We never even felt tropical storm force winds here on Ambergris Caye until this morning, when the south winds from his back side started roaring along with sideways torrential rain. The town gauge reports a high wind gust of 40.1 mph this morning. I am getting conflicting reports on the total rainfall but will try to get an update from Cowboy Doug's rain gauge here at Grand Caribe.
As I mentioned in my pre-Ernesto post
, we really didn't have much prep work to do here since our building is well-equipped for storms. Yesterday we took the screens off our windows and brought our veranda furniture inside, and that's about it. We'd stocked up with plenty of groceries the day before and have been doing plenty of cooking, so we would not go hungry. Not that that's ever a problem around here anyway!
Fresh bean/veggie burritos with guacamole and a Painkiller to drink for last night's dinner
Outdoor furniture inside for now
As Ernesto approached the coast yesterday, we had a heavy downpour in the morning, and then the rain was only light and sporadic for the rest of the day. The wind was coming from the northwest, so we hardly felt it on the beach. The major storm impact yesterday was high waves over the reef and small waves along the beach, which we almost never see. High tide was very high, at times splashing up through the little Chico Caribe dock and higher on the beach in front of our condo than we have ever seen it. But the water never even made it up to the bottom stair on our veranda.
The pictures below are from yesterday as Ernesto approached.
Debris washing up
Heavy rain band yesterday morning
This man's boat motor stopped working -- fortunately he was able to get a tow soon afterwards
Small waves making it across the reef (very rare)
Huge waves crashing on the reef
High water under our dock and up on our beach at high tide yesterday
When we woke up this morning, Ernesto had been downgraded to a tropical storm again and was already over land in Mexico. However, after an initial calm period around 7 am (which fooled us into thinking that the storm was almost over), we finally experienced tropical storm force winds from the southeast and torrential rains peaking an hour or two later. Looks like Ernesto was determined to go out like a lion.
The photo on the left was taken when I first got up; the one on the right two hours later after the heavy rain began.
Torrential downpour causing white-out conditions
This poor bicyclist was riding in all that rain and right into the wind!
Aftermath -- a messy beach that could have been much worse
As I write this now, it's raining only lightly, and the wind has calmed down some as well. Looks like all of us on Ambergris Caye can be very thankful that Ernesto spared us a direct hit. We didn't even lose power or internet!