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Hola! Last Sunday morning I left Cedar Rapids with temperatures in the 20s and a couple inches of fresh snow. 5 hours later I found myself in Cancun, Mexico and it's 83, muggy, and sunny. Boy, did that do wonders for my constitution.

This whole adventure began last November when nobody in the family seemed to know what to get each other for Christmas. So instead of wasting money on things we didn't need we hatched a plan and decided to invest in family time and memories instead of gifts. We found a great deal at an all-inclusive resort near Cancun, cashed in travel points earned on the credit card, and saved our pennies. And now here we are. These pictures are of the place where are staying at.

The only thing that's been a disappointment is the fact we all managed to get a pretty good sun burn. I was beating the drum how strong the sun would be and even though we loaded up on SPF 30 sunscreen we over indulged in the pools and ocean. We ended up paying 20 bucks for what should have been a 5 dollar bottle of Aloe to cool our lobster colored bodies. We weren't the only ones. Lesson learned!

Anyway, we are having a fantastic time and realize how fortunate we are to be able to spend this time together. One of the stipulations was that I try and stay away from weather (a very hard thing for me to do). To that end, I want to thank Brandon Marshall of my TV weather team for stepping up and helping with the blogs. He and RK are fantastic forecasters and they will keep you informed until I return to the throne in a few days. Adios, and roll weather...TS


One of the cool things I have been able to do here is talk to the locals about hurricanes Gilbert and Wilma. They are two of the strongest hurricanes to ever strike the Yucatan and Atlantic basin. Both did extensive damage in Cancun. Gilbert was a CAT 5 in 1988. The hurricane brought widespread destruction to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Gilbert was also one of the largest tropical cyclones ever observed in the Atlantic basin. At one point, its tropical storm-force winds measured 575 mi (925 km) in diameter. In addition, Gilbert has the honor of being the most intense tropical cyclone in recorded history to strike Mexico. It killed 318 during its existence.

Hurricane Wilma in 2005 was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, and the second-most intense tropical cyclone recorded in the Western Hemisphere, Wilma killed 62 and destroyed virtually all of the beaches around Cancun. The restoration process was long and costly. Everybody who was here can tell you some exceptional stories of how they survived the winds that gusted to 180 mph. In fact, if you know where to look you can still see damage from both storms today.

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