Hurricane Maria Hits Puerto Rico // Micah Weaver
This is a harrowing 1st hand account of Hurricane Maria and the major storms of 2017 by Micah Weaver at Aurasurf.com
Sunday 10/22 8am: Here is the story I’ve been trying to write for so long. This week I will finish this page. I will keep adding pictures but the internet is too slow at the moment.
Jawbreaker 1:06 is when we got our butts really kicked. It looks like a left upper cut to the mouth. I find this video fascinating because we had lost power early in the event. We had no idea where the eye was or what was happening. I was judging the position of the storm by the wind direction.
This eyewitness account is from the hills above Rincon in NW Puerto Rico: Maria hit us really hard. She came early and stayed late. We knew for days it would be bad. 7 days before landfall in PR I saw this massive group of clouds in the middle Atlantic, menacing, huge, well formed, not even designated a ‘potential tropical cyclone’ by the NHC. She formed and then went thru a period of rapid intensification. The storm itself felt like a beat down, 13 rounds in the ring, almost a KO for PR. It was a beating of epic proportions I have never in my life felt wind that strong or intense, not even close.
PR is such a beautiful island with amazing people but we are not perfect. After Irma’s PR miss, many did not take Maria seriously. Now PR is a case study for natural disasters. Tuesday September 19th, 2017 we finished final preparation and hunkered down Tuesday evening as the winds got up past 40mph. Tuesday night was all down hill as the wind started howling, the rain falling sideways. Wednesday we awoke to 80knt North winds 1st thing as Maria came ashore in SE PR, Yabucoa at dawn as a Cat 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds. So it was blowing 80mph in Rincon and then it got worse. At 8am I was looking out a crack in the window when a squall with a gust close to 90 pushed over a 40 year old mango tree 20ft outside my window, it fell with a crunch. The beating was on. Down came my beloved coconut palms that bore so much fruit, then the avocado trees fell over, the lemon tree blew away (I never did find it) and water started to trickle into the house. The boards were shaking the wind was howling and we went in the bathroom to sing psalms and pray. We had started bailing water but stopped when the door was shaking violently and we then escaped to the bathroom. After praying in the bathroom with my wife and 3 daughters I walked out into the hall to see water coming into the house like a river. Now, it was useless to try and stop it. It flowed across the kitchen and exited the SW door, ok no big deal. Then as the storm moved NW the wind switched to the SW and blew the water back into the house. There was no winning. This part of the storm was even stronger than the N side. It was now solid 120mph winds and any trees that hadn’t fallen from the north were now falling from the south and the west. The boards were shaking, the rain was pelting. We felt as if any second the next gust would hit and take out the window. We were fighting the storm from the inside of our house. We were walking around in inches of water on the kitchen floor.
These are frame grabs:
Wednesday night passed slow. We were not sleeping too much, then finally dozing a bit at 3am. Maria was passing NW, after 30 hours- moving away from us now, thank God. I woke up at dawn at 6am and opened the door, south winds still blew at 30-40 plus, the sky was gun metal grey. The landscape looked like an atomic bomb had gone off. I started to cry but I could not. I felt sick, I was nauseous, I felt as if I would vomit. Later some friends came over and we left in the 4X4’s to check on the members of our congregation, we had chain saws and we had to cut our way to the houses. Thankfully everyone was ok. The municipal crews of Rincon were out already clearing the main roads but many were impassible and needed heavy machinery to clear. All communication was down, no electricity, no water, nothing. A week after the storm we were finally able to use a satellite phone and call our relatives in the states to tell them we were alive. Thanks to a nice man named Steve who lives at Dogmans. That was huge. A month has passed now and there is still no water and no electricity in Rincon. Limited cel phone service just came back. Many people have left Puerto Rico for the states. There are some positives and a lot of negatives. We continue to struggle in every way. At least the planet and the ocean are repairing themselves. In time we will repair ourselves also. Many have stated they never want to go thru anything like that ever again…
Lo Bueno, the positives:
Below are blog posts from before Maria up until now 10/22/2017:
1 month since Maria hit PR. The old almond tree on the cliff above the peak at Indy is flushing out leaves finally, chest high barrels yesterday 🙂 Thanks again to all who donated since the catastrophe happened 9/20. You’ve made a huge difference, your awesome and kind and generous and it will come back to you. I am going out to do relief work this weekend so I will be spreading that around. Thanks again…
Tuesday 10/17/2017- 7pm Rincon PR: The struggle continues in Puerto Rico. I got a donation from a aura reader and it had this note: “Please help a family with this donation!” So I was at the store today and there was a mom with like 5 kids in tow and I was able to help her. Also the Emergency Management volunteers and more families so thanks so much. Everyone here knows I am an ‘Americano’ so for me to be able to help with your contribution it might as well be you yourself standing there helping the mother of 5 and she said with a heavy Spanish accent “thank you”… The fact that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the US, a US territory and that-that is a benefit has really been brought to the forefront here in the last month. I am politically neutral and I speak in generalities, not to stereotype anyone but it’s been a good union during this natural disaster the US and PR. The people here love the help… It helps in a practical way and it lifts their spirits and no matter what the people in power say to offend the masses here on this American island, all the people here are happy to have the help. You will not hear any anti-US rhetoric here. The US military presence here in NW PR has tripled in the last 2 weeks. There is a lot of support on the ground. The challenge is to restore a sense of normalcy. Electricity, running water, clean drinking water. On the way back from San Juan I saw tons of Petroleum Trucks with stateside tags from GA and AL and elsewhere. I just want to say to the USA thanks so much for the aid, it really helps… The cel companies I would like to take out back. How hard its it to fix a tower 1 month after the damage? AT&T, T-mobile, Verizon(claro) all are having a hard time getting it together and thus the reason for infrequent updates on this site. I would have updated this am but there was no network anywhere so that’s the latest…
Weekend 10/14/2017: Down here in PR it’s flat at the moment. The struggle continues with not much progress locally. I heard a few places in Aguada and Aguadilla close to Carr #2 have gotten electricity. Here in Rincon it’s a mess, the infrastructure. On FB people were asking when the power would be back in Puntas. Someone said 2 weeks. We could not help but laugh. You know where Rincon Hostel was and Cafe 2 Go? That substation there was damaged severely. Big cables and poles and coils exploded in the street. On top of that there is no water for about 60% of Rincon. We got a boil water alert. A friend from NY hooked us up with a waves for water filter(thank you so much!). I have to find a clean dispenser and hook it up today. Crazy how many people here do no have adequate drinking water. We so much appreciate the government relief and we are not complaining but the distribution of clean drinking water seems a bit slow and disorganized while people get sick. If I can get this filter going today I will start filtering the local ‘potable water’ and it should be quite drinkable to bottle and pass out.
Thurs 7am 10/12 Report: Nothing new on the wave front. For WFL: Looks like you could get some of the 1st cooler WX in about 10 days from now from what I saw. Kind of a series of back door fronts stepping down the day time temps towards the back half of October. This may be the 1st October in awhile w/o a solid cold front. The last couple years saw surf producing big cool downs in October. This October looks different. Down here in PR we had 3ft @ 9 seconds NE swell yesterday with south winds. It was really pretty but weak, eye candy. Nobody was getting stellar rides too much. Gas lines are down, that’s what I got to do today get gas for the guy who has a generator driven well in Puntas, he is providing water for some of the neighbors. Things are not getting better too quick. I here the Metro is in Lepto crisis and more people are dieing now from medical problems (dialysis and oxygen needed) than from the actual hurricane itself. If you want more info some of the best links I have seen are on Facebook Rincon page. My family leaves next week but I am staying. Kind of glad to get my little girls out of here for a bit with all the health issues. You do not want to get sick here now. Even when I surf I am careful not to get injured. Not even any ice since before Maria. If I had one wish, it would be for a bag of ice. Get a bag of ice today and enjoy it for me. Still it could be so much worse and I should not complain…