What’s the Big Odile

This was the blog post I wrote the day after Hurricane Odile hit. We lost power and internet, so I never published it.

Everyone in town was hoping that Hurricane Odile would change directions and head west, as Hurricane Norbert did last week. We had gone in to town the day before it was to hit and got more ice and water, made sure the gas tank was full. As usual, we seemed to be the only ones concerned.

Last week, someone had come by to say that there would only be strong winds during Norbert, and that we didn’t even need to put away the patio furniture. This weekend, we watched the radar and knew Odile was going to be bigger. The problem with southern Baja is that it is only about an hour’s drive across. We thought about going to Cabo, but that was where the storm was heading. We thought about going to La Paz, but we warned that La Paz always floods, and usually with raw sewage.

We also got an invitation to go stay with some people we just met that lived nearby, but on higher ground. So, that was our conundrum on Sunday morning.

But, the house we are staying in is a concrete rectangle. No windows, but several glass doors on one side with metal slated door over them. So, despite being close to the beach, we are behind sand dunes, and can generally deal with the wind. Our concern at this point was water and storm surge. Our neighbor assured us that our location didn’t get storm surges. So, we tucked the bus into the most protected area we could find against the house, and sat back and waited.

Sunday was a long day. It was calm and quiet. We had electricity and internet, so we wasted the day waiting. And watching the weather. Around sunset, we walked out to the beach to watch the waves. We wandered over to the turtle nests and found a bunch that had hatched. So, we set them free, wishing them the best in the big waves.

Then, we went home and stayed up until the electricity went out about 7:30.

We slept for a couple of hours before the wind made that impossible. Reports are it was blowing 135 mph. The rain didn’t come until about midnight, but it was torrential. Our skylights (3) leaked and water came through all the doors from underneath. Eventually, water from our flat roof started coming in through some of the walls. Jason and I mopped, and placed towels at the doors. The wind made sounds like I’ve never heard. Bode was scared, but I was able to get him back to sleep, his fingers in his ears and curled up in a tight ball.

The loud sounds, the wind, objects hitting the sliding glass doors (luckily small objects as they had to first go through the metal doors) continued on and on. Jason was still able to track the storm from his phone, but that didn’t really tell us how long it would last.

It seemed like the night went on forever, lots of mopping, lots of worry. But sometime right before sunrise, it got a bit quieter and we were able to catch another hour of sleep.

By daybreak, the wind was still too strong to go outside. I got a text from the friends who had offered their place, they were okay, but their house was flooded, all their trees had come down, as well as a power line on their car and house.

We could see that it was flooded outside, but we were okay inside. When I finally made it out in the wind, I went to check on Red Beard, who was wheel-high in water with a comically dangling license plate.

The million dollar glass house in front of ours is completely destroyed.

The neighbors came out, the water started to recede and for some reason my phone was still working, so everyone was able to make a shaky call to let loved ones know that they were okay.

Our road is blocked with downed trees, and some power lines so we can’t get out by car. Jason and our neighbor walked to town. Folks were driving out of town with pick up trucks full of all their belongings. Roofs are off, glass is everywhere. The power company building was actually one of the worst hit – it’s roof is entirely missing. Oddly, we could cell service for a few hours, but then it went out after the winds died down. So, we don’t know when we’ll get electricity, internet or water. We don’t know when we can drive anywhere. We are all fine, and lucky at that. No real damage to our things or the house we are staying in.

All information we get is hearsay, so we don’t know the truth to anything. We’ve heard it may be several weeks before there is electricity (and water). So, for now we are waiting for more info. We can’t go anywhere anyway.


You can help the families affected by donating to the Todos Santos Hurricane Relief fund: With your contributions we will help to feed, clothe and rebuild the homes and lives of our  people in this beautiful Pueblo Magico.


3 thoughts on “What’s the Big Odile

  • September 25, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Appreciated your commentary about your experience in Todos Santos during and after Hurricane Odile. What an ordeal! Would like to hear about the happy part in Todos, also. I recognize the flat-roofed house where you stayed. It’s right in the neighborhood of Las Tunas where we own a home. You could walk to our home from there; its’ closer to the main Las Playitas road. The home you stayed in is a VRBO.com home, right? We also rent out our home through VRBO, but now one of our property managers is living there since her power and running water were out in her house which is in the town center. We had some windows blown out, but no leaks like your rental house had, just a little water that came in through broken windows. What little water there was has dried up and plywood is now up to cover window openings in preparation for new glass. No water damage to furniture. Our house is completely solar-powered, so we did not lose electric power or running water. The solar powered electric works like a champ! Electricity is required to pump water from our underground cistern into the house to faucets and showers. That’s why we still have running water. We have the sun to thank. The million dollar home that you said was destroyed: Was it just across from the dune break near the turtle rescue place or somewhere else? People reading this might like to Google the Todos Santos Hurricane Relief Fund which is being administered by a local philanthropic organization called the Palapa Society. As you said, there are many families with less sturdy homes who are now homeless and dealing with serious losses. They need our contributions. Thankfully, these are for the most part loss of material possessions, not the loss of people. Just had an idea: After you read about the TS Hurricane Relief Fund (above) if you would include the link in the main part of your blog and Facebook posts, it would get greater visibility than my comments which not everyone will click to read. Safe travels! I hope I hear from you. Meanwhile I am home far away from Baja in the Boston area.

  • September 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Thanks, Pat- I have included the link for donations in the post above. We have several posts coming out showing how wonderful our time in Todos Santos has been, we are just a few weeks behind in our blog.

    This post was written the morning after the hurricane, and the situation has improved. I believe there is electricity and water back on in parts of town now.

  • September 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    Thanks, Angela for your quick response. I look forward to reading your posts about Todos Santos that will be coming out. I saw a request by someone that lives in the same neighborhood as ours (and yours if you’re still in Todos Santos) who is seeking internet service, especially so that he can do work online. I don’t believe our house has internet service right now; I suggested that he ask our property manager about this in case he could do work from our house. From where have you been posting your blog? This info would be helpful if it’s a place that he might use. Thank you for adding the link for the Todos Santos Hurricane Relief Fund.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *