San Blas after Hurricane Kenna
by Tom Nelson
Published Oct 2002October 29, 2002
I'm in Tepic at an internet cafe. We have no power, water or phones in San Blas and I don't know for sure when we will. Estimates are 3 days to 3 weeks. The govt is working hard to restore power and is supplying food, blankets, bedding, purified water and many other things.
Fox was here yesterday and the old airfield in front of our house was reactivated. 8 helicopters landed with supplies and, of course, the pres.
We decided to stay through the storm. 80% of the people in San Blas left for Tepic. There were free buses and the local gov. was urging people to evacuate.
I've never seen anything like that before. It blew 40 to 80 for an hour then, at10 am, it kicked up to over 100 and up from there for 1 1/2 hours. Then just quit. San Blas recorded 312 kph (185mph) winds. Our whole house was vibrating and I thought the windows were going to blow.
Everyone who had an asbestos laminate roof (about 3/4 of San Blas) lost it, and everything in their house was soaked or blown away. Laminate was flying through the air, and trees and walls were collapsing. 6 big shrimp boats in the harbor were picked up and thrown onto the rocks and still sit there.
The beach at San Blas and Las Islitas is now empty. There is not a trace of a restaurant or palapa. The roofs and tables of the palapas ended up at the Quinta California. Chris and Rita and their bungalow escaped and damage.
The Suites San Blas is in bad shape with lots of broken glass and a couple of collapsed walls.
We were very lucky. The house held up well. No damage. I parked my truck over at the school and a wall fell on top of it, but that is minor in comparison.
San Blas is sad. Some people have lost everything. Everyone is busy cleaning up, trying to dry mattresses and clothing. Most don't have money to buy new laminate and the people who worked day to day don't have work. Without power and water many business can't operate.
The army is here with a big gen-set, set up in the middle or town, so there is power at the plaza and the market. The schools are temp. housing for the soldiers. Right now it looks like the govt. is making a strong effort to put things back together. There is talk of govt. loans.
San Blas will never look the same. 200 to 300 yr. old trees were blown over as well as hundreds of smaller trees and palms. It is bare. 1/2 of the old fort came down.
I'm going back to San Blas now. I'll check my email next time I'm in Tepic or when we get hooked back up.