Lorenzo is coming, for those among you who do not live in the Azores or are not weather geeks, Lorenzo is not a teen star, Lorenzo is a hurricane. A hurricane which is currently some 2000 km south of the Azores and heading north towards our archipelago. Storms are nothing unusual in the Azores, but there is something special about this one, it is the strongest ever recorded hurricane that far east in the Atlantic. At the moment it is a category 5 hurricane, the highest and most dangerous level with wind speeds of up to 300 km/h. Predictions are changing hour by hour, at the moment the authorities are saying that it is expected to hit the western and central group of the Azores by Tuesday night. Hopefully by then, it should lose some of its energy and be downgraded to a category 2 storm. Let’s cross fingers.How are things going on here, two days ahead? Surprisingly calm, our friends are saying that it will probably be like a heavy winter storm, noting unusual. Their advice is to close the windows, close the shutters, move inside everything that could be blown away and then – stay inside have a beer and wait. The positive side effect will be that shops, schools and offices will be closed and there will be a day off. Nobody is rushing the shops or petrol stations. I only realized that the four small torches that were on sale in the supermarket have disappeared since Friday. True, storms in the Azores are common, and the wind speeds predicted currently for Faial, between 120 and 160 km/h are not that extraordinary. On the other hand, I have no idea if there is any difference in the “behaviour” of a normal storm and a hurricane. We will soon know.
The situation seems to be worse for the western islands of Flores and Corvo, where the eye of the storm is expected to pass. The wind will affect us directly, but besides, waves are expected to reach a height of 12-15m in Faial, further west up to 20m. The lower parts of Feteira, the beach, the playground and the park might be flooded. Normally heavy torrents are accompanying a hurricane, so we might have access to our house flooded for some time as we need to pass over a little stream to enter. Normally it is dried out, but after heavy rainfalls it becomes for a couple of hours a fast running river. Water is then even reaching up to the bridge. Air and sea travel will for sure be disrupted for a couple of days and considering that all electrical and telecommunication lines are above the ground, there might be some power cuts and no internet. Following the posts on Facebook, there is quite a discrepancy in reactions to the storm. Azoreans, like our friends, tend to take things calm and wait for the unavoidable. Some of the foreigners here, mainly those who have spent some part of their life in areas regularly affected by hurricanes, seriously prepare. They have the experience, but topography of the Azores is different to the Caribbean, let’s hope that they prepare in vain. For us it will be the first massive storm, we basically follow the advises of our friends, tomorrow we will move things inside and stay calm. Today, I was on the roof, checked the tiles and changed two broken ones. Our house stands here for some 80 years, it withstood some earthquakes and even more storms. So, I think we do not have to be afraid. Nevertheless, I was the one who bought the last of the four torches in the supermarket – you never know.We’ll try to keep you posted during the next days, if not, it might just be a power cut or our fibreoptic cable did not withstand nature.