It is a he this time — Hurricane Dean is making a destructive appearance.
He has hit the Dominican Republic and is ramming Jamaica as a force four storm. There have been casualties and surely there will be pain and suffering. Now, in the path of the storm there are massive preparations and evacuations being made. The Cayman Islands suffered enough three years ago. I met many of those who fled from the wind and rising waters as the islands submerged. They had come to hospitals in Miami including Baptist Hospital where I was being treated.
Paradise can turn mean.
Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is preparing for a category 4 storm if it does not increase to the category 5 — which has been predicted. Hurricanes are fickle phenomenon and may or may not do what the most astute scientist predicts. It does look from the maps and satellite images that the Yucatan will come under attack with the storm hitting south of Cancun. That puts us close enough to the eye to be immersed in the storm. The differences will be in seconds of latitude, a few miles north or south.
For now the storm is due to encounter Mexico by Tuesday morning latest and appears to be heading yet again for the island of Cozumel and the resorts of the Mayan Riviera from Cancun south. Mèrida will also probably be hit as the storm exits the peninsula for the Gulf of Mexico.
The question now is whether or not we in Bacalar, we around Chetumal at what is still the southern edge of the “proposed track”, whether we will see the force of the storm or just the edges. The most recent report predicted the path to more directly include us.
State and federal authorities have already sent text messages to the population (cell phones are ubiquitous in developing nations which were not wired in the 20th c. as was the US) advising us to pick a secure place and stay put or follow the orders of “the authorities” in going to a shelter. They have large press conferences — something beloved in Mexico — where the governor and heads of agencies all get a chance at the limelight while reminding us that, in the crisis, we have the ultimate responsibility to care for ourselves. Good advice. The alert status for storms here is now orange and reddening quickly.