So Honduras dodged a bullet, as they say. Hurricane Felix was ultimately not the threat it appeared to be. While still offshore, it weakened from Cat-5 to Cat-4, which was good news. But it strengthened back to Cat-5 and jogged slightly to the south a bit before making landfall in a relatively unpopulated area of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.
But you know, while that part of Central America may not have any big cities, it really doesn’t matter how many or few people live in the path of a Category 5 hurricane. The danger to their lives, the destruction of their homes is as equally real in a small town as it is in a larger one. It’s just that CNN and The Weather Channel didn’t send camera crews to Puerto Cabezas. We didn’t see TWC’s intrepid Jim Cantore out in the middle of it, holding onto a palm tree for dear life, feet dangling straight out, bravely reporting on conditions like we do whenever a big storm approaches any given town in the United States.
Ah, never mind. Once Felix came inland, it quickly weakened. The end-result is what counts. And although Felix still looked impressive in the satellite views, what was happening on the ground was not as dramatic or catastrophic. Thankfully!
A woman who lives in the northern coastal Honduras city of La Ceiba and who calls herself La Gringa maintains a “blogicito” that has become a sort of clearinghouse for information on Felix. People contact her from all over with their reports.
There is an obvious and understandable sense of relief, yes. But there’s also something else. A sort of, “Eh- what was the big deal?” I wonder if it will lead to complacency concerning future storms?
Lori lives on the Cayos Cochinos, a group of low cays just off the coast near La Ceiba. Lori writes to La Gringa, “Well here I sit all boarded up, packed up and battened down -- and it appears that I just did a hard two days' work for naught!”
Matthew, who lives in the central Honduras town of Juticalpa, “Well, this is a little embarrassing. It seems all this blog posting was for nothing.”
Not at all! If Felix had jinked to the right (north) even just a little bit, and it easily could have done so, we’d be singing a different tune right now. We’d be singing much the same tune that was sung after Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
Matthew correctly points out in his blog that, “There’s still a long way to go until October…” the end of the hurricane season. And he’s right. We are not out of the woods. Another bad storm could come right behind this one.
Still, one has to marvel at the incredible good fortune bestowed upon the people of that area of Central America. Those in Puerto Cabezas might not agree, but if Hurricane Felix had to hit anywhere, it was for the best that it came ashore when (during daylight) and where it did.
As my friend, King Air pilot extraordinaire Mike Brady says tongue-in-cheekily, "Maybe there is something to all this praying."
We know there is, Mike. It could have been a lot worse.