updated 9/23/2005 12:24:34 PM ET 2005-09-23T16:24:34

MSNBC is asking people to send in their experiences with the impact of Hurricane Emily:

Peggy, Surfside, Texas
Surf's up in Surfside
Living on the beach about an hour south of Houston, we experienced quite a bit of beach erosion with higher than normal tides and the pounding waves last night.  Even though the eye of Emily came ashore hundreds of miles south of our house, we felt her wrath; attached is a picture of the waves out in front of our house.
--Peggy, Surfside, Texas

Dodging tornados
It's late morning (approx. 10:30 a.m. CDT) on Wednesday the 20th and Hurricane Emily has been making her presence felt since yesterday afternoon with rain and wind here in McAllen, Texas. Wasn't sure what was going to happen overnight when she slowed down and sat spinning just off shore so I went to sleep and woke up to howling wind and tornado sirens about 6 a.m. CDT. We've been dodging tornadoes ever since (reported near Mission, San Benito, and Brownsville). So far the only damage we have heard of in the U.S. is an apartment complex in Brownsville lost its' roof and a wall collapsed, no word if anyone was hurt though. I lost part of my fence and porch swing to the wind so far. Everything else is either inside or tied down. Even the dogs don't want to go outside to do more than their business. Several tornadoes have been spotted around the area but we are mostly getting just rain and wind. We are also lucky in that we haven't lost power yet.
--Darren Lint, McAllen, Texas

Bethany Kaaz
Playa del Carmen before.

Welcome to Mexico
Our family moved from Memphis, Tennessee to Playa del Carmen four weeks ago, and were certainly not prepared for a hurricane this soon. Two wonderful Mexicans that we met on our street helped my husband board up our windows in preparation for the storm on Sunday afternoon. Without their help, we know that our lives would have been in danger.

Bethany Kaaz
Playa del Carmen, after.
The pressure on the glass was amazingly strong, and we felt as if it would break even with the boards.
--Bethany Kaaz, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Beachfront view
I was staying at the Club Med in southern Cancun. We were told to stay in our beachfront room on ground level. Both the front door and our patio door shook for hours, we were sure it was going to break. Everything was fine thankfully. The resort had lots of trees down, all the light poles, and a wall caved in on one of their restaurants from the waves crashing into it. There was also a lot of roofing tiles off. The resort made sure we had plenty of food and water prior to the hurricane. Our power and telephone worked the entire night. Even our cell phone worked. On Tuesday we left for the airport, and drove south a little, and every billboard sign was folded over, along with some signs, and a lot of downed trees.
--Janice Hauri, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Like a hundred storms’
On Sunday the 17th of July, we were on our last day of vacation due to fly out on Monday the 18th at 1:30 p.m. Emily started roaring in about 3 p.m. on Sunday and hours prior to that the employees at the Cancun Palace Resort started boarding up windows and doors, putting away all beach chairs and equipment, and in general, getting everything that would move secured. This left a big empty pool area and beach overlook. It was a mass of bodies watching the sea and new people being bussed in from other palace resorts because our hotel was deemed a safe area. People were laying all over the floor of the lobby and ball rooms with blankets and pillows provided by the hotel and also food and water provided by the hotel. They really did a nice job of providing a safe environment. The storm hit full force at about midnight and it was like a hundred storms hit all at once. Windows broke out and doors blew off their hinges. Palm trees bent to the ground and the whole experience was simply awesome This went on for several hours and people going up and down the stairs just checking to see if you could see out anyplace and see what everyone was doing. Food was supplied by Cancun Palace in a very orderly and clean fashion. The electricity was to be turned off at some point by the city, but it never was. Thank God. We were able to get out to the front of the hotel Monday at about 10 a.m. and caught one of the rare vans in to the airport and made our 1:30 p.m. flight home to Indiana. Wow, what a vacation. I’ll never forget it, we survived Emily.
--Amy Marchesse, Kokomo, Ind.

Cancun is standing on both feet
I am a Cancun citizen, and I work in the Royal Sands, a 5 star resort in the hotel strip. Our resort is one of the very few beach hotels declared hurricane shelters. We assisted those guests who wanted to leave in the days before Emily, but many chose to stay. The resort offered an information conference for the guests, and they were reassured they were in a safe place and there would be staff on site 24 hours.

I work in the tour desk and I was allowed to go home at 2:30 p.m., but many workers stayed at the resort during the hurricane, especially front desk, maintenance, security, telephones, and of course, a manger on duty. All my respect for them, by the way. When I went home I saw a couple of the smaller hotels being evacuated, they were taking guests with al their belongings in special buses to the shelters downtown. There were army and city officials, and it looked like everything was very well organized and people seemed to be relaxed. In the city things were relatively calm. I still had time to go to the supermarket and buy a couple things my family would probably need, and I could see that, even if the store was very busy, there was no panic, most people already had what they needed and were, like me, only looking for a few last minute items. We started to feel the wind pick up around 8 p.m., or so. The streets were empty by then. It was raining, but not very hard. As far as I could see from the windows, the streets were deserted, everyone was home and calm.

The wind got stronger around 10 p.m., and the electricity was cut off, at least in my neighborhood. We could see from the window lights glowing not so far, so I guess parts of the city still had power. The worst was around midnight, when rain was falling very heavily and the wind was howling, and sometimes picking up in very strong gusts. Every time there was a gust, we would hear small things blown away and fly through the streets. My family was very calm, we were talking and having a nice time. Almost every house here is made with concrete blocks, and the windows have metal framing. After covering the windows with transparent plastic sheeting, our bunker was totally safe and comfortable. My cell phone always had signal, and my friends and relatives were calling me every now and then.

The wind calmed down around 2 a.m., and we went to sleep. This morning I called my manager home, and he said we were working. Cancun is standing on both feet, and we have to be there for our guests. Life goes on. There is still no public transportation (I hear on the radio that it will be reestablished any minute) and I did not want to drive my car in the debris filled streets, so my manager picked me up and drove me to work. I was very glad to see no major damage. There were many trees that came off from the roots and were laying on the floor, and some signs and traffic lights were bent down, but there were no important flooding or anything to be sorry about for as far as we could see. Any damage we could see is only cosmetic, and I am pretty sure that Cancun will shine as always sooner than anyone expects. On the other hand, I have been listening to the official reports, and it looks like Tulum did not do so well. There are no clear reports yet, but my prayers are with them. What I can say is that we were very lucky, and the authorities did a great job in keeping people informed before, during and after. Cancun is on its feet!!!
--Jesus Nieto, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Surreal experience
I was in Playa del Carmen just before Emily hit -- we high-tailed it out of there towards Chetumal -- all the hotel owners were telling us not to worry, but my cousins who are locals told us to come to their ´bunker´ in Chetumal. The lines at the gas stations were incredibly long. the dark spire-like clouds in the sky contrasted beautifully with the azure colored tropical sea. The entire experience was surreal and I will never forget it. Blessings to all the people affected by this hurricane, it was truly a magnificent and powerful show of nature’s majesty and power.
--Patrick Hamm, Ames, Iowa

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