In the Field: Cabo Hurricane Odile, Day 4

Posted by Greggrey Cohen on October 2, 2014

It is my last day in Cabo. I made my final trip to Gloria Jean’s for a coffee to start the day.  There was more activity on the streets as workers head to damaged properties to make repairs.  

Once on site, I made final preparations to walk the property and confirmed that I will be able to quantify damaged components once I'm back in the office. This was my last opportunity on this trip to identify and locate the readily visible structural damage. I used my handy laser distance tool for field measuring damaged structural components. I kept my camera out all day trying to capture images of the damage to use in my report. Photographs are a great resource after you leave the site to provide a recollection of observations. I have found that you can never have enough photographs. There is always one more photograph you wish you had once you are back in the office.   

A few photos from the final day:

The local staff helping with the recovery line up for a photo shoot to express their gratitude for the company keeping them employed during the clean-up efforts. 

The damage to local businesses.

The temporary generators for electrical distribution.

A beautiful early morning sky over La Paz.

There are lessons to be learned from the damage. Lighter framed buildings and components that are not adequately connected to the structure suffer the most damage. Salient corner effects along building corners, along parapets, on soffit framing, and on roof surfaces require increased design pressures to limit damage. Evidence of damage in Cabo suggests that these increased pressures were not incorporated into the design or the construction. In the U.S., we are fortunate to have building codes that require us to design and detail components for increased wind pressures to limit damage from natural disasters. Limiting damage will allow businesses to recover quickly and get back to business as usual… a good thing for all parties affected.

Now, four weeks after Hurricane Odile, the Cabo San Lucas airport has reopened and power is fully restored to the area. The community pulled together to repair and reopen businesses, restaurants, and resorts with the hope that tourism will return to normal.

Categories: Community