In the Field: Cabo Hurricane Odile, Day 2

Posted by Greggrey Cohen on September 30, 2014

The drive from La Paz to Cabo started at 7:00 a.m. MST.  I encountered a military-style checkpoint 45 minutes north of Cabo, with fully armed military personnel watching each car pass on the highway.

As I approached Cabo, the Mexican Electric Company (CSE) was working on transmission towers and cables along the highway.  Many transmission towers had failed, so the electric company was installing foundations to support new towers, and stringing new transmission lines to bring Cabo stable power.  Just outside of Cabo, an electrical tent city was set-up on a barren piece of land for materials, equipment, and labor.  It appeared that the effort was an around-the-clock operation to bring back power.

Once in Cabo, I observed many damaged structures. There were partially collapsed buildings, facades blown-off, broken glass, and downed trees.  Many of the newer, lighter framed buildings appeared to have performed poorly in the high winds.  Businesses were trying to open, even without secure enclosures.

I arrived at the resort to assess the storm damage and assist the insurance company in identifying required repairs.  A U.S.-based restoration company is on-site leading the effort to restore the property to pre-loss condition – a monumental effort.  A U.S.-based contractor is using local labor force to perform the clean-up.  The widespread wind damage I observed included:

  • Loss of large sections of roofing
  • Broken windows
  • Loss of stucco from facade elements
  • Failure of tall, un-reinforced parapet walls
  • Failure of exterior wood-frame pergola type structures
  • Downed trees

After a long, hot day walking the site, I made my way to a rented villa in San Jose.  The electricity was off and on all day in town.  There was no running water, but luckily, the villa had water storage tanks on-site that afforded us much-needed (but cold) showers. I travelled to Cabo for dinner and ended up being the only person eating at the Giggling Marlin.

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