By Isabella @TheWandCarver
I have become a bit of a weather buff. And, as everybody knows, the British love to talk about the weather. With the advent of internet technology, if we become bored talking about our own weather we can now talk about somewhere else’s.
Recently, as some of you know, I’ve kept a keen eye on the weather across the puddle, what with hurricanes sprouting up faster than you can say “Bob’s your uncle”. I have a vested interest in all and sundry passing through Florida what with a daughter, her fiancé, and my grandson living there.
I have become a hurricane watcher!
There is a wonderful website I have found for keeping up with this sort of thing call NOAA which stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric. Here you can get latest coordinates for hurricanes and tropical storms and they even track the storm for you so you can see where it will be along its route. Of course, as with any weather event, it is subject to change but with regular updates throughout the day you can stay abreast of all changes. Now, it would seem I’m a little bit addicted to it!
Since Hurricane Irma barged her way through the Caribbean then up the west coast of Florida, I’ve kept a beady eye on newest Hurricane Maria, which by the way, is now going due north after having completely pillaged Puerto Rico and is not a danger at this time to the coast of the U.S. Mind you, I shall be watching her warily until she has completely fizzled away to nothing, however. I have gone to NOAA’s 5-day forecast page to be sure nothing new is developing. So far, so good.
Many people seem to be in shock that such horrendous hurricanes have roared through the Tropics so far this year. Nothing new, it would seem. In 2005, there were a bevy of heavy-hitters by names of Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma – all Category 5 hurricanes. None of these left America, Cuba, or Mexico unscathed what with Emily claiming Tamaulipas, Mexico; Katrina beating the life out of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, United States; Rita was an unwelcomed guest in Texas at the Louisiana border, and Wilma was on a world tour of Cancun and Cozumel, Mexico then back to Cuba and on to Florida. Two-Thousand-Five was also the year in which names for storms had run out, therefore there was a mixture of numbered and Greek lettered named storms/hurricanes. They were so-named after the Greek alphabet beginning with Alpha and ending with Zeta. Yes, every one of the alphabet were used and the end of hurricane season, normally the 30th of November came and went with tropical storms, depressions, and hurricanes forming and doing damage through to 30th December with Tropical Storm Zeta. Tropical Storm Zeta went on record as the longest lasting storm which went on through part of January 2006. Who would have ever thought that could happen? Many lives were lost and loads of property damaged. But why again?
Contrary to Dooms-Dayers and fears of the Apocalypse coming, hurricanes exist to cool the ocean’s temperatures. An enormous amount of sunlight beats down at 23 degrees North and South of the equator. Without a way to disperse the heat from the Poles, the Earth’s climate would become out of control.
The planetary heat engines sprout from relatively weak thunderstorms. Waves of low pressure form from the coast of Africa and festers in the warm waters of the Atlantic. They feed upon tropical moisture and the Sun’s intense energy and, eventually, they will start to spin, thanks to the Earth’s top-like motion.
Twenty-Seventeen is seeing this perfect alignment the same way as it happened in 2005. According to NOAA this isn’t random but a coming together of specific environmental factors. The Atlantic Ocean is in a pattern that is particularly favourable for hurricanes. Every couple of decades the pattern flips but it has been positive since 1995.
Several things indicate a bad hurricane season such as when El Nino and the hurricane-killing winds over the Atlantic are not present. Then, things become very favourable. Add in some very warm oceanic water and savage hurricane season is born.
At that point, it is up the four winds as to where the hurricane ends up travelling to. This is subject to change throughout its journey as in the case of Irma as she was originally set to hit Miami, then was next shown going directly through the centre of the state of Florida [which would have, I believe, caused more devastation than it did], ultimately ending up skirting the west coast of Florida. As large as Irma was she covered the entire state therefore no city was left entirely unscathed. Seventy-four percent of the state was left without power.
The 2017 hurricane season is still two months away from being officially over, So, if you’re reading this and live in the Tropics, stay prepared. It is believed by NOAA boffins that October is going to be a busy month. Please stay safe.
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all x