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!

Friday, May 15, 2015

TS Ana Finds Lost Ship. Jim Williams 2015 Predictions

I want to start this morning off with the reminder that every storm, even a weak storm, can make a difference to the shoreline where it makes landfall. Sometimes, that difference is not dangerous as much as whimsical and thought provoking. The small, compact storm Ana rearranged the sand on the beach in Surf City exposing a shipwreck that rarely was seen except at the lowest of tides. Now, the shipwreck is visible to all courtesy of Tropical Storm Ana, the first storm of the 2015 Hurricane Season. Note, that season officially begins on June 1st but this year it was ushered in early by Tropical Storm Ana.

It may not seem much of a shipwreck but it was once and the not much of a storm Ana rearranged the sand on the beach enough to show what the beach had been hiding. Shipwrecks are common sites along the North Carolina beaches. Between hurricanes and winter storms the sand on those beaches is rearranged way more than the beaches of South Florida. The Outer Banks reach far out into the ocean much further than the barrier islands along the Treasure Coast in Florida. Their sands get whipped about with every strong breeze and new inlets are made faster than anywhere I can think of along the coastline. It's a very organic place in ways that Miami Beach that I love more than anything is not. But, like Miami Beach people live in denial that it is a constant, a steady hard rock of a place to set down your roots and build a home that will last generations. In reality, the homes built along the Outer Banks (both SOBX. OBX and NOBX) will last as long as any given hurricane allows them to be there.

Most of that area was wiped out by Hazel and other Hurricanes, however.... time has removed all vestiges of destruction to a new generation that sees life in Kure Beach as a constant in their life, as a place to live all year (rare) or a place to runaway to in the summer. One day a major storm will hit that area and the homes will receive a stronger blow than either participant in the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight and some will  be washed out to sea or need major repairs. Til then, life is a beach along the ocean.

There are MANY beautiful beaches along the Hurricane Coast that the same thing can be said and many people who have gone without a hit of a major hurricane forget it can happen. That includes, people who have moved to the area or were raised in the area with only ghost stories grandparents tell of the hotel that got washed out to sea... or the barrier island that used to be there before . . .

The skeleton of that ship reminds us of the ships that went down before in other storms and the ones that suddenly stick out of the sand are reminders of the storms that will one day come back again. Quiet times are great times for beach cities, they are boom time years where hotels get built, restaurants exist at the edge of the water and the illusion of forever is felt by almost all...or all until you suddenly see the wooden bones of a ship visible on sand rearranged by a minimal Tropical Storm and you wonder for the briefest moment "what if" before moving on looking for a shell, a shark's tooth or just staring off into the endless blue where the sea meets the sky.

Song from one of my favorite CDs

Jim Williams from Hurricane City puts out a list each year of cities along the Hurricane Coast that could be impacted that year based upon a massive mathematical calculations of past hits, frequencies between hits and this year he adds in the analog years of Gray and Klotzbach from CSU. He has many parameters he uses and more information on that can be found at and you can discuss it at a message board found on his website. Anyone can put out a random guess (even based on data) of how many storms we will have this year or next year. It's a game among meteorologists going into the hurricane season. You see them begin to talk in mathematical code 7/3/1 or 8/4/2 or in a year predicted to be busy 11/7/4 and you may wonder whether they are betting Trifectas at Jai-Alai or passing secret severe weather codes...

No it means ....  # of tropical systems/Hurricanes/Majors and the numbers vary greatly depending on the person popping out the numbers. At the end of the season there is a flurry of discussion on who was closest and who blew it badly.

Few say "WHERE" the hurricanes will happen. Often some government agency puts out some hazy, lazy sort of stab at possible targets such as "along the East Coast risk is higher than the Gulf Coast" or "Florida may be more prone to landfall this year than Texas" which is not exactly pin the tail on the donkey if you know what I mean...and I'm sure you do. If you are a younger millennials reading this, you have already Googled "pin the tail on the donkey" I'm sure so let's move on.

Jim spends mucho time working the numbers, studying the maps and doing calculations and he puts it out there for all the world to see. If he's right, he gets credit and if he is wrong people most likely will point it out to him his face, online or in a nasty email. Few do what Jim does and his lists have been mentioned in the media across the spectrum on news and weather sites everywhere. Jim knows hurricane history the way Joe Bastardi does weather history. He can tell you in any given year which town was hit by which storm and how many years usually go before the town is hit again. Jim lives weather more than almost anyone I know. He would never miss the announcement of Dr. Gray's Tropical Predictions for the coming year. He, like many of us, are busy in the off season analyzing things we meant to get around to studying that we didn't have time for in busy hurricane seasons. He, like many of us, keep scattered, weathered bits of scraps of headlines and old hurricane maps the way many collect old recipes or football trading cards. For instance, I have a vinyl nice map you can use erasable markers, one printed on a hang up cork board and a metal one you can put magnets on. Weather people love maps ...random fact but true across the board.

Note the Hurricane Coast as many of us call it is a long, long, long coastline that stretches anywhere from the coasts of Mexico and Central America to the end of the road along the Maine Coast. You may not think of Maine as Hurricane Country, but trust me it is just gets hit less often. When you live in Maine you talk hurricanes in the summer, but that is tempered by more talk on Nor'easters in the Winter. In Miami you talk Hurricanes the way you talk Hurricanes (capital H) in New Orleans, Galveston and places lesser know like Tampa, Matagorda and Gulf Shores, Alabama. Every year the pages of the calendar get tossed away and you turn the calendar to June and you wonder for the briefest moment if this will be the year.

Jim's list for 2015 is below. He put out a great video this year with images of the towns as well as historic information on the town as well as what the town's industry is as well as year round population. It's like the CIA Fact Books of Hurricane Towns.
Great information on any place on the globe. For instance look at Belize below or imagine you needed to get a plane to Afghanistan...where would any librarian suggest you go? Yep, CIA Fact Book ;)

Moving on........

Jim Williams is like the CIA Fact Book for Hurricane Country...not just Hurricane City.

I'm not going to LIST there for you... you have to watch the video ... but I will discuss his city picks in the next few posts and I will give MY thoughts as well. I will tell you his Gulf Coast concerns are on the money and that is a big concern of mine. I'll discuss this more later. Watch and tell me what you think @BobbiStorm on Twitter or here as a comment.

Note, these cities are REAL cities where people often do live all year even if some of them have population booms when the fisherman come down to the coast to fish and enjoy time alone with the beauty of nature. Sometimes nature hits you back in the face and those towns get rearranged or take a hit that shuts them down for a year or two until things get quiet and they rebuild thinking names like Hazel and Fran are only ghost stories or stories told by old timers who must have embellished how bad it really was back when Hugo hit in 1989....  They are not Hollywood sets they are real homes to people who love living by the ocean, knowing a hurricane could happen in any given year; sometimes people live in denial and think the town up the coast or down the coast will get hit more often. An example of this is Jacksonville and Tampa who rarely do get hit, but have in the past and will once again.

Keep it in mind if you live along the Hurricane Coast... your time could be coming and MATHEMATICALLY your number is coming and your chances of being hit by a hurricane are more realistic than winning the lotto. Oddly, you will dish out money to win the lotto.... yet you will put off getting new shutters or a generator for the hurricane season. Hmnn. It's all about the MATH.... History repeats.

Today is the beginning of the EPAC Hurricane Season and in 2 weeks, the Atlantic Hurricane Season will be upon us all. You can follow it and everything at as well as any number of hurricane websites or follow us on Twitter or here... at

Besos Bobbi


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