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!
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Fresh bean/veggie burritos with guacamole and a Painkiller to drink for last night's dinner
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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.
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Debris washing up
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Heavy rain band yesterday morning
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This man's boat motor stopped working -- fortunately he was able to get a tow soon afterwards
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Small waves making it across the reef (very rare)
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Huge waves crashing on the reef
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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.  
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Torrential downpour causing white-out conditions
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This poor bicyclist was riding in all that rain and right into the wind!
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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!  
Carbunkle Trumpet
8/8/2012 09:48:41 am

Good to hear that you didn't lose power or had major damage. I recall my friends telling the horror stories of Hurricane Keith (or it may have been Mitch) that middle street was flooded and people riding jet ski's down it. Power was out for weeks and life was nothing Bonita.
Hopefully this will be the last blog post on this subject for the season. Just curious but did your dog act any differently when the storm was passing? I have heard of animals reacting to the pressure changes when a hurricane passes by.

We will be a little closer North of y'all next week as we head to Cozumel for a destination wedding of some friends of ours. We lobbied like Hell for San Pedro but they chose some swanky all inclusive joint.

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BeBelize Emily
8/8/2012 11:40:09 am

Jet skis on Middle Street? That sounds like one of those fisherman's tales about how big a fish was that keeps growing over time! Very hard to imagine, but I would love to see it!

Paisley was weird the day before the storm, very clingy. However, once the storm got here, she was fine, and after it passed, even though it was windier and rainier (i.e., this morning), she was snoozing away. So she probably did sense something ahead of time. Normally storms with lightning and thunder are what bothers her, and this one had neither.

Enjoy Cozumel!

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Jennifer
8/9/2012 02:39:21 am

Hi There. I stumbled on your blog when I was googling info on Ernesto as we are heading on our first cruise (with two young children) Aug 18-25 with stops in Cozumel, Belize City and Roatan (Honduras). I have been trying to make sense of all the hurricane reports but have found that first hand accounts are better. I would love it if you could update me on what the storm is doing now? Are we likely to have terrible weather for our trip? After a storm like that passes, what happens with the weather in the area?
Take care :-)
Jen

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BeBelize Emily
8/9/2012 03:20:25 am

Jen, after minor hurricanes like Ernesto (or tropical storms), there are a few days of cleanup, but the weather is typically just fine a couple of days later. Your trip is 10 days from now, so Ernesto will be just a distant memory by that point! However, this is hurricane season, so there could be a new storm heading this way by that point. I hope you purchased travel insurance just in case. There is no way to predict the weather that far out; you'll just have to follow the reports as it gets closer to time. Here's a good site for tracking tropical weather: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/. Good luck and have fun!

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