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Honduras: Hurricane Felix Creates a Blogstorm

Hurricane Felix

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.

Katherine Marrow, who lives in a relatively safe mountain town, wrote about Felix in her blog, Life in Honduras :

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.

Trish, of Sowers for Pastors currently is hosting a mission team, that given their remote location in the mountains of Honduras, might become stranded by mudslides and poor road conditions. She says:

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.

36 comments

  • Renata Avila

    In Guatemala we are expecting the storm to arrive soon. It is quite a shame that many of the tragedies might be prevented but the countries in the region are so poor and the priorities of the government are in other areas, not in the people.

  • Tracy Lopez

    My husbands family lives in Villa Nueva Cortez. Do you know if they had any flooding? At this time we are unable to contact them. Tracy

  • Hello Tracy,

    the newspapers printed images of flooded streets in Tela and La Ceiba, with stranded cars up to the wheels in muddy water. Nevertheless, that’s quite common during the rainy season here in Honduras, because storm drains are often clogged with debris.

    I didn’t find reports of floods reaching homes. There was nothing like Mitch or Fifi, where most major rivers overflowed their banks.

  • Eileen

    I have been looking for information, too. My daughter is also a Peace Corps volunteer in El Pital this week. Usually, she is in L’Esperanza. If anyone has any info about that area I’d appreciate it. Eileen

  • Martha

    If anyone has any info on Billy Cribb, I’d appreciate it. He is the son of my best friend. I’m praying that he and all others are ok.

  • Martha

    Sorry, I forgot to add that Billy Cribb was on Roatan.

  • I have bad news about Villanueva. The Ulua river, the largest river in Honduras, has aparently overflowed it’s banks near Villanueva. Read this Honduras Living Message, and this blog post by La Gringa.

  • Linda McGowan

    Has anyone heard any information from Guanaja? We have many friends who live on that island and we have heard nothing since before the storm hit. Thank you

  • Guanaja and the Bay Islands were spared of flooding and even rain. On Wednesday, the Ulua river flooded farmland near Villanueva, Cortés. Yesterday the Choluteca river overflowed in Tegucigalpa, flooding the market.

    Father José Andrés Tamayo, a grass-roots environmental activist, attributes the relative mildness of Felix to the forests. He says that because the hurricane struck the largest forest in Central America, we were spared of a major disaster. I agree with him, forests slow down flooding, as the vegetation absorbs moisture. (N.Y. Times article)

  • Martha

    We just got word from Billy Cribb on Roatan. He is fine. Thanks, all.

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