Tropical Storm Nate in Nicaragua

“Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”
― Roy T. Bennett

A storm is brewing! “Beware!” the zopilotes caw from the tree tops. The U.S. Embassy warned us about tropical storm Nate. We didn’t think much about it because the storm was supposed to pass to the east of us along the Caribbean coast. We’ll get some rain and maybe a little wind we said to ourselves.

It rained all night Wednesday and we woke to the sound of the wind howling through our bananas. The waves crashed to our shore and all ferries were suspended. The relentless rain pounded our house horizontally, drenching our bathroom through the screened windows. The lights flickered and snap…all was dark and foreboding.

A coconut frond flew off the tree and landed on our power line, snapping it in half. I had a full charge on my phone, so I sent a text to a neighbor. “Hay luz?” The response was “No hay!”

Should we take a chance and repair the line while there is no power? It could take days before the electric company could repair our power line after the storm.

Storms make people stronger…or braver and more foolish I suppose. During a lull in the rain and wind, Ron ran out and spliced the power line back together and hung the line up in a tree while securing it with rope and a PVC pipe. Now, we waited to see if it fixed the problem.

While we waited, I played a gazillion spider solitaire games on my iPad, read three books on my Kindle app, and napped… a lot! We watched the waves rearrange our beach…a small gamolote or floating island washed to shore. Trees uprooted surfed in the waves. This was a serious storm, I said to myself nervously.

Thank goodness for a battery operated charger to keep my phone and iPad charged, a water tank with a reserve of 600 gallons of gravity flow water ( mainly so we could flush the toilet), a phone with 3G and a data plan so I could stay connected with the outside world,  instant coffee with a full propane tank to heat the water, solar lanterns, and two battery operated light bulbs that we could turn on and off to conserve their three hours of light before the battery ran down. And the best of all…a cool night to sleep without fans.

Others weren’t as fortunate as we were! We wondered if there had been another landslide, the number of homes flooded, and how many people were huddled together in a dry spot among their old tin roofs and plastic walls.

Our friends in Moyogalpa posted photos of a giant tree that fell across the road. Two of their electric poles toppled under the strain of the wind. One of my friends was trapped in her house because the lake rose covering her sand beach path into town. Now, if she wanted to leave, she had to wade through knee-deep water.

Concepcion volcano shed more of her blanket of lava rock and covered the road in the same place as the landslide in 2014 which destroyed the village of Los Ramos.
Broken Lives

Plantain and banana crops bent and twisted in the raging storm. Many crops were lost.
Tin blew off roofs leaving frightened families exposed to the rain.
But, the devastation was even worse in the coastal town of San Juan del Sur. The boats that weren’t securely tied down washed ashore during high tide. The boat below had to be demolished.

The Lila Michell fishing boat came very close to crashing into a bar and restaurant. I hope it can be saved!

Incredible! The fishing boat looks like a beached whale.
But the worst and most frightening was the mountain road from Matagalpa to Jinotega. I don’t know if there is another way around to connect these two cities.

Tropical storm Nate struck Nicaragua on Thursday, bringing maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, with some areas of the country receiving as much as 30 inches of rain. Out of the eleven deaths reported so far, ten have been killed by floods, while one person died at sea. Today our vegetable truck man said one person died on the Maderas side of the island.

Nicaragua continues to struggle with mudslides, washed-out roads, no electricity or drinking water, and communities cut off by surging waters. But, the best that we can do is never lose hope. Storms bring us together to help each other and they eventually pass.

Thanks to the anonymous people who posted many of these photos I grabbed off Facebook. Information is still scarce, but most of us have electricity restored and are thankful that it was a tropical storm with less winds. I can’t imagine what a category 5 hurricane must be like!

Hunker down Louisiana! We are keeping you in our thoughts! Stay strong.

20 thoughts on “Tropical Storm Nate in Nicaragua

  1. hey amiga
    i loaded lots of pages and read them offline – so sorry that i wasn’t able to comment and send ’empathy’ via cyberspace.

    my friends in costa rica wrote w/lots of stories of landslides, bridges out, power out, etc etc… i often said that october was always the worst month when i lived there… it all depends on what those tropical disturbances/hurricanes do, where they loiter, and who they torment…

    even with the power off/dead, wow, ron wins my vote for most valiant….

    • Or, he wins your vote as a crazy nut! 😂 My friends in Monteverde, CR got hit bad, too. So much destruction all over the world. Fortunately, there are many relief groups helping those who are suffering. The expats in San Juan del Sur are incredible. They are repairing wells for drinking water, wading rivers and carrying supplies on their heads to those affected by Nate. So many people lost everything.

  2. So many pictures of devastation that show the power of a storm. Glad you are safe, warm and dry but my heart goes out to the people of Nicaragua and elsewhere who are going through these tremendous storms and weathering the destruction of hurricanes. And it really doesn’t matter if it’s a tropical storm or a Category 5 hurricane (DT’s remark to the people of Puerto Rico comparing Irma to Katrina had me livid) the ruin and lives torn apart will be felt for years to come. Stay strong people of Nicaragua. Anita

  3. There are two roads between Jinotega and Matagalpa and parts south. One is the old road that goes by Selva Negra and is a direct connection between the two. The other is the Guyacan highway that by-passes Matagalpa but does have a connecting road that goes into Matagalpa from the south side. The Guyacan is the major truck and bus route between Managua and Jinotega. I understand from other posts that one of the bridges north of Jinotega was flooded, but in town was relatively uneventful, other than having lots and lots of rain. Near Lake Apana wasn’t so fortunate and some crops were said to be under water. We’ve had worse rain locally earlier (my house had water on all the front building floors from the kitchen to the front of the house then, was dry this time).

    Nate is headed for North Carolina according to a brother who lives there and sent me a message to see how I was faring. It was obviously worse elsewhere, and I do hope they can repair the back road to Matagalpa soon because it’s the highest paved road in Nicaragua and rather a wonderful drive.

    • Rebecca, I knew you would have information about this road. Thank you! We traveled this road several years ago and I think it is, or was, the most beautiful road in Nicaragua. Thanks for the update. It is difficult to get real time news on Ometepe Island. There have been so many rumors and speculation.

  4. Goodness! Some of these photos look painfully familiar, especially the road breakaway! We often find that the worst thing about tropical storms is the rain and flooding. Water causes more damage than wind, very often. I hope the boat will recover!

    • I know. It is frighteningly real! Lacking proper infrastructure and drainage, Nicaragua always has flooding. But, this year it has been particularly bad because Nicaragua has been inundated with rain this season. The ground is soaked and can’t hold any more water, and the tree roots are weak and can’t support the trees.

  5. AWWWW…NOT FUN ,,,BUT …IT COULD BE WORSE …THERES SUFFERING EVERYWHERE NOW ,,AND ITS not going to get better … sad.. but thats the TRUTH!!!
    But it wakes ya up , no???
    Makes U move and shake too, have more faith ,,,more hope .. ….what you need to learn …and ya don’t learn it in a “”””””COMFY””””” LIFE …
    SOOOO , we all GROW ON …

    hopefully WAKE UP..AND SEE THE TRUTH ..

    when ya know the truth… u are led..
    were all on our”””” own”””” journeys ,,, no use judging others , right??
    and its just not fun to suffer now …is it???

    Light to ya ,

  6. Ron, I’m glad you spliced the wires before the power came back on…We’re thinking of you being pummelled by Nate. Not a welcome visitor. Up here in Canada it’s Thanksgiving weekend, fall fairs, pumpkin pie and family get togethers. I’m glad you’re safe. Bruno & Elizabeth

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