October 2017 Flashback, Tropical Storm Nate hits San Juan del Sur: Nica Nugget #106

On October 5, 2017, Tropical Storm Nate hit San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

We were spared the severe destruction that impacted many local families and many communities out in the campo. We got off lightly, and we had the resources to survive the inconveniences during the storm, and to hire out the work to make repairs and improvements to our home. But, for us North Americans, unused to flooding and going without electricity and water for days on end, and unused to seeing boats cast up on shore, it was a humbling and scary experience.

I wrote about its personal impact on my husband, John, and me in my very first website blog post, dated October 7, 2017, a full nine months before I started writing my Nica Nuggets series. And then I wrote a second post about the clean up.

In honor of the storm’s three-year anniversary this week, especially in light of all of the rain we’ve gotten in San Juan del Sur these past few days, and in order to incorporate these two earlier posts into my Nica Nuggets series, I’ve recreated and combined them here.

For those of you who lived through it, it may rekindle memories. For those of you who’ve only heard references to Nate, here are some photos. And as usual, it’s just MY simple story.

All but one boat in the bay either sank or was washed ashore.

The wind howled. The rain poured. The power and water were out for three days.

Downtown San Juan del Sur after Tropical Storm Nate hit

Our house flooded from both the front doors and through the back concrete walls. We feared that our porch’s fabric awning would break loose and its metal frame would crash through our glass doors. So we stood watch throughout the night.

I’ve learned how to properly wring out a mop and a towel or two or three. And John got his daily 10,000 steps just by squeegee-ing the water off of the top terrace, night and day for three days now. We brought this squeegee with us from the States just a few weeks ago and good thing we did!

We blessed our lucky stars for the water in our pool to do our dishes with and to use to flush our toilets. And we relished the dry roof over our head, our dry bed with clean sheets, and our gas stove. And thankfully, our Kindles were fully-powered and full of soothing books. For me, I I’m vegging out on Anne of Green Gables.

John removing rainwater from our terrace was a 24-hr job for three days

We just talked to Salvador Gutierrez Estrada. He is a builder and he and his crew built our terrace last summer. We’re putting them back to work for us. They’re now going to build a solid roof over our front porch, fix the rear drainage behind our house, as well as the terrace’s roof leak and poor drainage. We’re really glad we were here to see the storm and it’s effect on our home so that we can now make some preventative changes.

A local watches a sailboat get trashed by waves

Skies Clear, Power Returns & Work Begins

After the devastation of Tropical Storm Nate, the sunsets returned to our home in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and so did the clean up and repair.

The Chocolata Road Gets A Facelift

The rutted dirt road, full of horrid, repetitive potholes and thick mud, which crosses in front of our development, is finally getting a face lift, but how thorough a job is done is yet to be seen.

It’s supposed to be eventually…some day, maybe…paved. But I’m not holding my breath for that.

Besides, the road is in such bad shape right now that traffic goes by really slowly. Which makes it fairly safe for pedestrians. It actually may become a treacherous place to walk once it becomes graded, little alone paved.  

The Chocolata Rd outside our development gets a lot of traffic

Our House Work Begins

The various work projects at our house have also begun. The first job was to build a secondary retaining wall to keep the seldom-used neighborhood stairway, which flanks the side of our property, from collapsing.

During the storm, John had watched a river of water pour down the stairway, spill over the wall and flood the back of our house.

First they had to move the existing water line out of the way. And then they had to carry the new, huge, heavy, wall blocks up our 45 steps.

John baked the workers fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls, lamenting that he couldn’t help by even LIFTING one of the blocks, little alone carrying one up the 45 steps.  

The work on our retaining wall begins