Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tropics are quiet...and so am I ... Post Game Analysis on Ida First...

On a bit of a writing vacation this week and unless something big happens I most likely won't update this week.

Ida may have changed the way we view tropical entities and the threat they have way up north when that energy remains in the system one way or the other.

For a long time I have wished that they were not so analytical and picayune with the way a hurricane is viewed. It is not just a center of circulation (we say COC by the way...) and it is not just about a track where the COC will make exact landfall.

Exactness is good when preparing a major population area for a landfalling Category 3storm but with a weak Category 1 or a large tropical storm the energy is diffused over a greater area and affects communities far from the little spot in the middle of the cone where the line is drawn.

And, intensity still remains for the holy grail of tropical cyclone forecasting.

Hurricanes like people have many ages... embryo, childhood, young adult, mature adult, nasty adult, old age... maybe not as many ages as man but many still the same.

And, each age or stage needs to be handled differently.

Old age their energy gets diffused, sent out across a wider geographic area. One part gets rain, one wind, one flooding... sort of like a bunch of children who are now grown up and haved moved out on their own to wreak havoc somewhere else.

Ida's energy first infused into her system down in the hot, humid, tropics carried with her deep into her later stages... Just like 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 35... Ida on day five and six was a whole lot stronger than she was in her 30s. She hooked up with that coastal low and went dancing off the outer banks. Caused more damage than most hurricanes or noreasters have done and houses fell into the sea, Norfolk was flooded and I mean DOWNTOWN Norfolk and people died in storm related deaths from the Carolinas up to the Northeast.

Mind you I respect that we have gotten so much better at predicting the point of landfall but we have to get better and more realistic about how we cover them and how we treat them and not so quick to write them off as remnant lows and pass them on to local media outlets to warn people and hope and pray people are going to the National Weather Service for discussion I believe that the National Hurricane Center should be writing.

Once upon a time they were treated as a named storm and covered by newsman as larger than life weather events that people remember their whole lives. Now they are simply remnant lows and batted away as not really Ida.

Well ..."Not Really Ida" did a whole lot of damage. She sat and spinned and tore up trees, brought down large oaks, flooded out people's lives and washed tons of sand and some coastal structures that may not mean a lot to you but meant the world to the people who owned them.

We try so hard these days to dehumanize storms. Years ago we treated them differently with more reverence and respect. I think that was better than now where they have been degraded to an interactive video game complete with model projections and visual graphics to rival Apple's newest ipod product. But, we have lost sight of the drama and the reality that it is a system and it stays a system until the last drop of rain has fallen far away in Newfoundland or England. Take a look back over history and those that tasted blood down in the Caribbean often tasted blood again when they made landfall a second time. Those storms were often looked at a bit more fearfully by meteorologists who knew they were just clouds caught in the winds of the atmosphere and yes it's all math and science but in the end a reporter somewhere at the end of the line is writing a newstory about someone's mother who died in a car that was washed off a roadbed and describing the dollar amount of damage and how some poor city will try and clean up and put itself back together. The family of the mother who died will not put itself back together ever, not really.

The Cuban mets who were better at forecasting historically than anyone else were often made fun of for romanticizing hurricanes. They were right, they saw the larger picture beyond the math and science and they are tempests that torment us every year.

And, intensity forecasting IS the Holy Grail of tropical prediction and the satellite is still failing and still needs to be replaced. And, we need to think differently on how we warn people about these storms.. inland flooding, tornadoes and hybrids that are still tropical in some ways and not in other ways.

But like the butterfly wings chaos theory... the rain and energy wrapped up in Ida made it to Maine and there is a reason their energy is compared with that of nuclear weapons. They cause pain and misery long after they have been detonated or declared a remnant low.

So.. maybe I was not sooooo quiet today but I have been this week. I'm working on a few projects, a political campaign and a novel and it is November which is write a novel month as us writers like to call it... so it would make sense I should try and finish my novel that I have been playing with rather than working on. Never end a sentence with a preposition by the way but this is a blog... not my novel.

Write one or read up on writing one... it's a great program.

As for the tropics... just remember it's not over until November 30th and it wasn't over just because October was slow...

I don't think we will have another storm but then... I didn't think we would have Ida.

Yes, all we are is dust in the wind.... and all a hurricane is a lot of raindrops caught up in the wind spinning around with the energy of atom bombs spinning across the surface of the planet sometimes out to sea...and sometimes straight at me...or you... treat them with respect and reverence and yes...a little bit of romance.

Besos Bobbi


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