Image from the National Hurrican Center, Miami.

It is Saturday and preparations have already begun for Hurricane Dean, which is expected to make landfall in Yucatán Monday and hit hard here on Tuesday. I just received a text notification on my cell phone telling me we have a yellow alert. This is a great service since so many people here have cell phones. I have to say that I haven’t experienced many hurricanes even though I live in Florida. I think the last two frightening hurricanes that hit Gainesville in 2004 were category 3 and 4 respectively — Charlie and Francis. I am not sure what to expect. High winds, electric outages, falling trees, lots of rain and in Mérida that will mean a lot of flooding. The streets flood when it rains so a lot of rain = a lot of flooding.

Yesterday I was out buying some supplies. Here the popular food includes the universal tuna fish – which is quite expensive for the average person at US$.90 a can – and ramen noodles in styrofoam cups. Tortillas won’t last — since real tortillas last about a day. Plenty of water.

The question is what do you do when you don’t have tons of resources to buy hurricane supplies? It’s hard to imagine how people can be prepared with water and food, when there is little expendable income. The other concern is the damage to local, individual farms and houses — particularly the palapas (thatch roof houses). Although these structures are strong and withstand heavy rains, it is quite possible that hurricane winds will lift these away. Yesterday, at Costco, I saw a family purchase MN$5,222 (US$500). No comment.