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Friday, October 26, 2012

Tornado! October 22rd.

Okay, it happened 4 days ago. I should have blogged about it sooner but after my Sept. 19th post called "Gone with the wind", I wondered if anyone really wanted to read another weather post. Then I remembered, hey, some of you readers like to keep up with what's happening here in Uruguay so here it goes.

Only 1 month after our big wind storm of September, the Meteorological department started to issue, on Saturday, some warnings of an impeding storm due in a few days. Heavy rains and winds were forecast.

Satellite Image of the evolution of the storm.
Alerts! For the departments of Colonia, San Jose, Canelones (our community/county) Lavelleja, Treinta y Tres and Montevideo that meant being on "ORANGE" Alert. The worst was expected from 0 hours Monday night (Military time) to 21 hours. About 5 inches of rain fell in Colonia on Monday.

Due to winds and torrential rain, in the town and area of Artigas, 30 people were evacuated along with a long list of other people in other places. 

Piri├ípolis,  main road/rambla washed over by waves.
However, "RED" Alert warning status was given to the Departments of Maldonado and Rocha! It was predicted that winds from between 75 Kilometers (46mph) up to 120km (75mph) and occasional gusts higher than that would hit those 2 counties/departments.

Despite being on "RED" alert, nobody could imagine that on Monday the 22nd of October, Rocha would experience the phenomena of a Tornado touching down! According to the newspaper EL DIARIO, at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon a 300 meter wide (1/5 of a mile) tornado appeared. It broke 2 houses apart and caused a horse to fly away! Sadly it crushed a calf as well. 14 people were left homeless there. Amazingly despite much destruction, no human lives were lost. Hurricanes and Tornados are not usually experienced down here in Uruguay. Strong wind and gusts, yes. We also experience short bursts of heavy rain sporadically, along with a lot of frightening thunderstorms, but a tornado and last month's Tropical storm were unusual.

As mentioned we were only on Orange alert in Canelones so thankfully for us it wasn't as bad. Wally can sleep through anything but since we still have 3 tall pines trees right outside our bedroom window I found it hard to relax and sleep during some of the powerful wind gusts that came during Monday night.

The beach by our house showed the effects of the wind and rain. The water was blacken, full of wood bits and who knows what. While I didn't see a flying horse go by, the odd sight of a dead chicken being washed back and forth by the surf made me stop and pause (later, Wally made a lame joke about "Chicken of the Sea" the name of a North American canned tuna brand).

Dead Cat fish, from some stream were washed onto the shore and sadly lots of discarded used plastic bags which was proof that using canvas/cloth tote bags for shopping can help the environment. What surprised me was that we've never been as fully warned about the use of and proper discard of string and rope as an environmental aid. I have never before seen as much jute, string and rope as I did laying on the beach after the storms aftermath.

My normal route to the beach using a little foot path had to be circumvented because the wind and waves of the storm had caused a sharp sand-shelf drop off.  I was too much of a wimp to go leaping off the short ledge. About 2 houses further up the street away from me is a concrete set of stairs built by the city down to the beach so I decided to used those.

I realize that I must still have "a glass half-empty" mentality left over from North America. After a week of moping inside because of rainy windy weather, I was delighted to be walking in the sun shine again. However, I just couldn't enjoy this nice day at the beach as littered and kinda stinky as it was. Still the Uruguayan people have a way of enjoying what they can, where they can.  I couldn't help but take a photo of how many were really enjoying the day at this same beach. The difference in attitude must be the result of all that mate drinking, which I haven't gotten a taste for yet.

The beach littered with after storm debris
 Summer season is about to start and the city always bull-dozes the beach to clean it up from trash. I will enjoy the beach after cleanup. With my snooty attitude, I went home and gave my dogs a flea-shampoo and bath knowing that it would be quite awhile before I would be taking them back down to the beach and swim in the blacken water.

The town of Atlántida in the background
Still, I couldn't help feeling a little guilty when I thought back to how much someone else's dog (a Golden Retriever) was enjoying the beach despite the mess. Maybe, I need to start drinking a little Mate and appreciate that after a storm, even a tornado that in Uruguay life goes on, and Uruguayans enjoy life!


Anonymous said...

Though one of my few 'bummer' entries, I did note the trashy beach here:

Personal responsibility.

SaritaAgerman said...

wow I never would have expected to see hurricanes in Uruguay - the photos were really dramatic!

Anonymous said...

Where do you suppose all those discarded plastic bags are being dumped into the ocean/river to begin with? Do you think it is possibly all of those ships that moor off the coast waiting to enter the harbor? Are they being dumped from Montevideo or Argentina or possibly coming from Brazil?

Wonder if you have any thoughts on that.



Wally said...

Felipe.... probably local residents and trash bags that the dogs find are more responsible than foreigners.

Seamus said...

Denise, Thanks as always for a fascinating post. Please....when in doubt, write! I found this a VERY interesting entry. As usual, fantastic pictures. The radar image is even different from our usual due to the non square long/lat lines. How can your readers NOT be interested in flying horses and bad (but really funny) jokes about old tuna commercials.

There have been Public Broadcasting episodes here describing the problems caused by plastic bags and fishing lines/nets/hooks which have gone astray in the oceans. It's not primarily the junk thrown off ships. It's just careless disposal of lots of garbage. As Pogo used to say, "We've met the enemy and he's US!!" Not long ago, about a year or so after the tsunami in Fukushima Japan, there was NO END of garbage washing up on the US West Coast including full freight containers stuffed with buoyant things like sneakers. This is not to fault the Japanese for this, but to point out that the plastic bags washing up by you could be from literally ANYWHERE in the world. If garbage can make it all the way across the Pacific, there's no telling where it may wind up.

Seamus said...

Almost forgot...once I took an off season 2 weeks in Jamaica. In the 10 or 14 days I was there it rained 25 inches. (Portland Parish on the East end of JA gets over 300 inches of rain per year.) Believe it or not, about half the time I was there it was sunny so it wasn't a bad vacation. But that much rain actually gets to be interesting if you haven't seen it before. If life gives you