EventsSan Mateo

Hurricane Earl Hits San Pedro

By August 5, 2016 January 10th, 2017 No Comments

Hurricane Earl slammed into San Pedro on the evening of August 3. It was a nervous night as the storm raged in the pitch black of night.  Morning revealed extensive damage to San Pedro’s foreshore, but thankfully Holy Cross School, and the San Mateo area were largely intact. My heartfelt thanks go out for the many volunteers who helped build the school strong, and those who prayed for San Mateo and Belize throughout the night.

Join me on a photographic tour of my morning walk to look around.

1 Approach (1)

Ominous clouds as Hurricane Earl approached.

2 School (2)

The following morning revealed the school thankfully intact, but the roads and yards littered with debris.

2 School (4)

Debris shows the level of the storm surge – about knee deep, so not enough to enter classrooms – praise god!

2 School (6)

The school sign, blown over in the wind. Thankfully it did not do much damage. The sign itself is now partially under the classroom. You can see the high waters still around the school, still going up and down with the tides.

3 San Mateo (2)

Next I took a brief walk around San Mateo. Our school’s neighbor lost part of their roof. Thankfully their zinc held on just long enough to not become a serious hazard. That’s t he owner walking in front.

3 San Mateo (3)

My home. The yard is a mess, but all is intact.

3 San Mateo (7)

This was a typical shot of what I saw – busted fences, but largely intact homes. Likely to be a lot of water damage.

3 San Mateo (4)

The blue building is a small store, which later opened for business.

3 San Mateo (8)

This building lost part of it’s roof. I heard of 6 homes that collapsed from the combined pressure of water and wind. No-one was killed, I have not heard the injury reports. One owner I talked to was just thankful to be safe and unharmed. He had passed the night in a concrete building, then gone home to find his house blown over.

4 Beach Walk (2)

Next I began to walk south along the beach. It was mess. But the mood of the locals was upbeat and friendly, everyone initially still just happy to be safe.

4 Beach Walk (3)

The Hotel Del Rio, where many of our volunteers have stayed. The tree is busted, the interior flooded, but the walls and roof are sound.

4 Beach Walk (4)

The Hotel Del Rio dock, and the beach eroded down to the palm tree roots. Wait a minute, where’s the rest of the dock?

4 Beach Walk (5)

Oh, there it is, in the front yard.

4 Beach Walk (7)

This dock fared much, much worse. There used to be a dive shop here – Patojos – that many, many of our volunteers used when then came.

4 Beach Walk (10)

The dive shop, washed up on the beach. The hotel – formerly the Tides, now Ocean Tide, fared OK. The official hurricane shelter on the island is at the high school, surrounded by this wall. Must have been truly terrifying to hear the dock and dive shop ripped apart, then banging with the waves.

4 Beach Walk (15)

The Blue Tang Inn, another favorite hotel with our volunteers. The yard was a mess, but the hotel looks OK.

4 Beach Walk 11 (1)

Speaking of a mess, this dock was much longer, with the new palapa bar (old Wet Willies) on it. Terrifying what the wind and waves can do.

4 Beach Walk 11 (2)

Looking back at the buildings. That’s Melt Cafe behind the remains of the Palapa bar washed ashore, with the San Bar next to it.

5 Beach Walk (2)

As I continued south, the destruction continued. Not hard to believe the radio reports that said 90% of docs were destroyed.

5 Beach Walk (3)

More debris. These Jet skis were not packed away for the storm and are now washed up in the Luna Loca.

5 Beach Walk (4)

The Palapa where you used to get a beach-side massage. The beach used to extend much further forward, but we’ll see what remains when the water recedes.

5 Beach Walk (5)

The water taxi dock remains, at least in part (left most dock). But there’s so much clean up to be done.

5 Beach Walk (6)

Central park, with Estelles in the background.

6 Town (1)

Walking back along the road, the damage was much more related to water and floating debris. Here’s a photo a few hundred yards south of the bridge.

6 Town (2)

More water damage, but showing buildings largely intact.