Email Cyclone Updates

Email received Saturday morning at 10h47:

All, the cyclone BINGIZA should not affect Toamasina this week-end. But vigilance is still needed. Thanks.

Email received Sunday morning at 11h00:

Please note that the yellow alert of our Plan has been activated. We’ll keep you regularly informed of the situation.

All, the directives for a yellow alert are the following :
• Put valuable things in back pack (money, jewelries, personal documents, changing clothes).
• Secure things around the house (roofs, planks, garden furniture and other materials outside).
• Fill up fuel (vehicle and electric generator).
• Identify things that can be carried by wind and that can become dangerous projectiles like garbage bin, drum or sheet of steel ..
• Secure the bay windows exposed to the wind with plywood sheets (up to 5 mm thickness) attached outside . I
f not, with large adhesive paper band.

Email received Sunday night at 19h37:


The BNGRC « Bureau National de Gestion des Risques Cycloniques » has declared imminent danger for cities from Antalaha to Vatomandry. Consequently, we pass in Red Alert. Until further notice, please shelter at home except those who must stay at work for Safety reasons. The cyclone should hurt the coast during the night.

The directives for a Red Alert are the following :
• Get back home and gather the family members as much as possible,
• Secure garage doors and the gate,
• Stay in the house, away from the windows,
• Listen regularly to the official weather report on the radio and on the TV. Do not believe in rumors. The local authorities will provide regularly an updated information,
• Check the content of your emergency kit, the medicines availability, the batteries for the radio and flash light,
• Tape up windows with an adhesive tape in order to reduce the impact of broken glasses,
• Freeze water in a plastic bag and use them to satisfy the free space of the refrigerator or cooler,
• Set refrigerator to maximum coldness and do not open unless in necessity,
• Abstain from alcohol in order to keep you aware of the alert,
• In case of power failure, avoid making fire at home or using candle in order to prevent the risk of burn down.

Instead of getting wasted and having a campfire in our living room like we had planned (???), Sergio and I put down all the storm shutters and pulled in all the patio furniture. Our living room is now filled with lawn furniture. This is a big deal because our living room/dining room is the ONLY ROOM in our house that has managed to be kept clean. (We haven’t exactly been the picture of organized home residents since we moved in together.)

I fell asleep right away and didn’t hear anything during the night, but Sergio said he woke up a couple of times and the wind was intense.

And then, this morning, at 8h35, I got this ugly email:


The cyclone has hurt the Masoala Cape. In Toamasina, we expect heavy rains but not strong winds. Offices are opened, and transport from town to work will be organized and available at normal meeting points at 9h30. We will keep you informed during the day.

Which means, get your ass back to work. I was hoping to have a “snow day” so to speak.

To compensate for the lack of cyclone in Toamasina, I created my own cyclone this morning while getting ready for work. This is the second time this week where I have let my emotions get the better of me. I swear some days I act 13 instead of 31. I’m not proud of it, but it happens. Anyways, I finally got ready and went to work. At least the day was shorter and it’s a run day so I can let off some steam.

The weather today ranges from hot and sunny; to hot, sunny, and crazy rain and wind; to hot, overcast, windy, and rainy. And it changes every hour or so. It’s weird. I wore long pants today because I thought I would be cold, but it’s quite warm out. I guess that’s the whole “tropical storm” thing.

On the way to work, I couldn’t see any visible damage. No broken trees, the huts seemed to be standing, there was just MAJOR puddles (like bigger than a kiddie size swimming pool).

Although my day sucked because I didn' t have a "snow day" from work (and it started off with my self-created cyclone), I hate to think about the area where the cyclone actually passed. There will be many people without proper shelter and it's not as if they can just start re-building. The poverty here is severe and it will take many months (if not more) for the small seaside towns to recover from the cyclone. I guess I can just hope that the cyclone will pass quickly and do as minimal damage as possible. And, of course, count my blessings.


  1. Wow! That all sounds pretty scary. I hope the country goes unscathed. Stay safe. Love G@G xxoo

  2. Pretty good writing...I need some lessons from you
    Villa #703