Image by Fecke and used under a Creative Commons license.
A storm of blog entries has appeared as Hurricane Felix approaches the Nicaraguan shore. The most recent computer models show Felix hitting the north shore of Nicaragua, its eye moving inland across the mountainous north of Honduras.
Fearful of disaster, the Honduran government evacuated tourists from Roatan, in the Bay Islands, which this morning seemed to be the likeliest target of the hurricane's wrath. Natalie Grace, of Travel Blog , reports on Felix:
The powerful, Category 4 storm spurred Grupo Taca Airlines to provide special free flights to the mainland. Planes were quickly touching down and taking off again to scoop up more tourists. Some 1,000 people were evacuated from the Honduran island of Roatan, popular for its pristine reefs and diving resorts. Another 1,000 were removed from low-lying coastal areas and smaller islands.
The last major hurricane to make landfall in Honduras was Mitch in 1998. An enormous category 5 storm, Mitch parked itself mercilessly over Guanaja for 3 entire days. Miraculously only 10 people died on the island. Nevertheless the images of devastation in the island were terrible. All the trees were stripped of branches and leaves, leaving only bare trunks, like silent totems.
After leaving Guanaja, Mitch raced inland where more than seven thousand people were killed in flash floods and mudslides. Honduras had never experienced a hurricane so far inland. Since Mitch had been so close to Honduras for almost a week, the ground was already saturated with water. No one in living memory could remember a Hurricane striking as far inland as Tegucigalpa, for instance.
Yes …. there is a hurricane heading to Honduras….and yes…I am in Honduras!! Good news is that it will most likely miss us here. Siguatepeque is right in the centre of Honduras and the safest place to be as it is so central and in the mountains. We are expecting it to be a bit windy(!?) with heavy rains, flooded roads, mudslides etc. But nothing as dramatic as the coast is going to be.
La gringa, of La Gringa's Blogicito, says in her blog, “We are taking Felix seriously now.” She tells her readers: “Believe me, opening my email and reading about ‘catastrophic’ hurricanes every few hours is more than a little disconcerting − especially for someone who has never been anywhere near a hurricane before.” She adds some comforting words “don't assume the worst if you can't get through” because everyone will be trying to call friends and relatives at once.
Our greatest concern is that the roads between us and the major cities may be significantly damaged, through road washouts, landslides, floods, and destroyed bridges. If the infrastructure of Honduras is severely damaged, this will certainly affect us.
In an earlier post, she reminisced of her time in Guanaja when that island was recovering after the ravages of Hurricane Mitch. “The island of Guanaja, and the people there, will always be close to our hearts.”, she wrote.
Bob Barbanes, who writes in Helicopter Pilot, moved back to the United States after living and flying his helicopter for a while in the Bay Islands. He details some of Mitch's antics, and volunteers to help in the aftermath. “And if you folks need a helicopter pilot after the storm passes, I'm ready to come back and help.” he wrote.
By the way, who would name a storm Felix? Felix means “happy” in Latin. My fingers clamp when I type its name, wanting to spell “Feliz” instead.
For my fellow Hondurans, please be safe and prepare. Hopefully this storm will quickly pass, and no lives will be lost.