Tropical Storm Lidia Has Her Way With Us

We got bounced around pretty good, but came out the other end on our feet
BY: CARRIE DUNCAN

The 14th tropical cyclone and 12th named storm of the 2017 Pacific hurricane season impacted us here in Los Cabos as it made landfall with maximum winds of 65 MPH.

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Lidia came ashore in Baja Sur, then weakened while struggling over the spine of the peninsula, before emerging over the Pacific Ocean on September, a mere shadow of its former self.

The official word is there were 12 inches of measurable rain, however that was very spotty, with some areas reporting more, and many reporting less. Nearly all the damage was due to water, not wind, which is why it was never called a hurricane: It was wet, not so much windy.

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The storm caused damage as far away as Mexico City.

Locally, Lidia has been blamed for seven confirmed deaths, including two from electrocution and two from drowning. In a particularly tragic accident, a woman crossing rushing water lost her grip on her two-year-old, and he fell into the water and was washed away.

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Flooding, of course, was the worst of the damage, but also posing hardship was fast moving sand. Sand came rushing down from the hills behind us, pushing through the homes in the barrios behind town, on its tear, (terror?) to the sea. At least it wasn’t so much mud, it was mostly fairly clean sand.

The walls of sand came so fast, and so strong, that most personal possessions were swept along with it. The arroyos, which had once again accumulated discarded junk, were conduits for the seasonal debris from the first of the storms to make the journey through town to the Sea of Cortez.

Since our towns are built along the coast, each arroyo that crosses the fourlane running between San Jose and Cabo San Lucas clogged up the highway. Miraculously, the two bridges at El Tule held up, which was a real break for us. The other, smaller, arroyos most of which were dips in the road rather than bridges, were plugged with sand and bulldozers were out early the following day pushing sand to and fro, pretending to make quick work of the clogs.

storm4.JPGThe most damaging arroyo was the one just outside of Cabo, the one that runs through the Cabo San Lucas Country Club, and the one that was recently re-worked to minimize impact on the Country Club. In the past, two holes were usually washed off the surface of the golf course during each storm, but after this most recent stab to tame the arroyo, the Country Club still suffered severe damage and now so did everything downstream. The Country Club is blaming the national water agency and is contemplating a lawsuit against them.

Also in that same arroyo was Vagabundos trailer park, which was wiped out this time, as was Vagabundos restaurant in front of it. The swimming pool in front of the restaurant was completely filled with sand. So much so, that it was unrecognizable that any pool ever existed there. The Chevrolet dealer on the other side of the arroyo lost every car, as they were pushed further downstream, most jammed up against a tree, a house, a trailer, or finally coming to rest buried in sand.

storm6.JPGThe airport was not damaged, but it did shut down partially for one day, not completely opening for business again for two days. Flights were canceled by the airlines who said they couldn’t get enough staff to show up to work. It was difficult to get to the airport, as the last arroyo on the route to the facility was arguably the second worst of the arroyos, with bulldozers doing their too and fro movements well into the third day, and traffic barely creeping along in one lane, bumping over mounds of sand that remained.

Friday, the day of the storm, nearly all businesses in both towns were shuttered, but by Saturday an amazing number of them had re-opened, mostly those which had electricity. All power was restored within a couple of days.

We’re shoveling sand, we’re drying out, and we’re cleaning up. We are nothing if not resilient. After all, we survived Hurricane Odile. Although this was a hardship for many of us, an economic disaster for some of us, and a heart ache for seven families, all in all, this was a stroll on the debris strewn beach in comparison to what we went through with Odile.