It’s looking like the worst may be over, although outside my window right now looks like an English August Bank Holiday on Blackpool Promenade (you need to know the north of England to get that reference, sorry!). The point being, however, that this is winter and this would be summer in England.
As the day dragged on yesterday, the streets were abnormally quiet, especially for a Sunday. Walking around town around lunch time, cafés and bars were already giving up and stacking their tables. Everywhere here relies on having seating outdoors, even if normally protected from the wind by blinds or awnings. But this wind was coming from the opposite direction, and foiled their attempts at protection. Two valient (or foolhardy), middle-aged couples meandered around the main plaza, the women dressed in white trousers and frilly blouses, the men in nicely-pressed shorts, you could see they were pretending they weren’t cold – tourists then – everyone else was clad in sweats or waistcoats, even though they sported shorts and thongs. There were only a couple of small boats still moored up within the harbor. There are never that many, but clearly most had been taken out of the water, being tethered is one of the worst places to be in a big surge, and sure enough one of the two was half-sunk this morning. The other, I think, had broken its mooring and was rescued during the night.
In that way that storms move, it was almost dark before 6 o’clock, and it seemed that the worst was approaching, but it lightened briefly before night fell, and with the night came the high point of the storm. In Plaza Roja outside my window the palm trees bent over and the rain was horizontal. It was a scene familiar from tv news coverage of hurricanes. I read online of hurricane-force winds being recorded up in Izaña by the Observatory, they were saying 199 km per hour, but this morning it says 149km – still pretty windy!
It passed quickly. In fact, I’ve never known a storm to pass over as quickly. Hurricane Delta in 2005 rattled my shutters for hours. But I wasn’t venturing out. I watched pictures of the rescued boat, floods right across the plaza from me (but hidden by buildings, so no direct view) on the internet and turned in for any early night, expecting to be woken by the winds again, but the only things which broke my sleep were text messages and the neighbors screaming at each other at midnight.