Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irene- Wimpy or Wicked?

See that's the thing with Hurricanes, you just never can tell.
About a week before, you hear about a tropical depression that could form into a tropical storm.
A few days after that, you read that the depression has become a storm, with a name, that could threaten the Bahamas, various small countries, or eventually the east coast. They say this every time.
So then the maps and all the tracking data come out, and nine times out of ten the storm either fizzles out or it turns and chugs off to sea, never to be heard from again.
Once in a while, the maps and tracking data stick around and, within hours, The Weather Channel actually has ratings! The guys that stand there all year, doing their "partly-sunny-with-a-chance-of-rain" schtick, all of a sudden become celebrities. Everyone wants to know what they think.

The weather guy or gal becomes rather like an announcer at Churchhill Downs. The outcome is still fuzzy and impossible to predict, but oh, how they do predict. They call it as they see it about every fifteen minutes.
Comparisons, charts, maps with many-colored tracks to attempt to cover every possible path that the unpredictable weather event may take. With these maps you can whip the maximum number of people into a frenzy, because, well, it could go anywhere...
With things like tornadoes and thunderstorms, you really only have the aftermath to discuss.
A hurricane, however, can pull in a huge number of viewers for days on end.
All the worst case scenarios, pictures from Katrina, the stories of devastation from storms decades in the past are pasted in front of a population starving for something "exciting", served up by an unpredictable mother nature.
And any one of these could, indeed, be "the storm of the Century". Disaster on a scale that will provide footage and fodder for predictions in years to come.

We are now in the final days of the latest disaster in the making, and Irene, the guest of honor this time around, has indeed settled into a path that looks like it could provide for a real wild ride. She is bearing down, all 436 miles of her. She looks like a nasty piece of work, and we have our bottled water, cash, toilet paper and batteries, just in case. It's not looking like she is going to tuck her tail between her legs and run whimpering out to sea.
So we are watching and tracking and predicting. The grocery store weather talk has the sustained winds at anywhere from 35 to 110 mph. Some have heard that it is slated to crash into the outer banks, and others say that it is going to chug up the coast until it hits Boston. Plans have been changed, picnics canceled, family members far away are worrying about the threat to their loved ones.
Some folks are thrilled with the uncertainty, others just want it to pass and be over with.
No one really knows what will happen this weekend. I'll be watching and wondering right along with everyone else.
If there is anything interesting to blog, I'll be sure to post it!
One thing is for certain, we'll pray for safety for all of our friends and family.

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