The Eye of the Hurricane and the Navel of the World

The weekend is in full swing and it looks like the United States is going to be spared of a major hurricane, the change in outlook being the result of one of the most spectacular hurricane forecasting debacles in recent times.  I am fully aware of the complications involved in accurately predicting of the weather, and tropical storms are notoriously shifty creatures, but what made Hurricane Joaquin  especially befuddling was the fact that these guys couldn’t even get it remotely right with 48 hours of the actual events. It was as if they had their eyes glued to the computer screens but forgot to look out the window.

     The storm was supposed to stay as a harmless tropical storm and roam far from any land, except for maybe Bermuda, but that’s pretty far from any land anyway.   But it turned straight south all of the sudden and more or less came to a crawl over some sparsely populated islands in the Bahamas.  Those poor people went from thinking a menacing storm would float well north of them to becoming enveloped in one of the worst systems of the season.  And instead of taking on a few hours of pesky light hurricane forces, the cyclone quickly intensified into a only major hurricane this year.

      Then, instead of making a hook shot at the Eastern Seaboard, the way most models foresaw, the storm is now slipping further away from the coast just a two days before it was supposed to arrive.  The meteorologists were off by a mile.  A 1,000 miles to be more precise.  America’s weather technology took a shellacking almost as bad as the Caribbean itself.  Most of their models even remotely saw the storm turning into anything, and they completely missed the correct path.  These are our storms.  We’ve been dealing with them since the dawn of formal meteorological forecasting.  Ironically, it’s the European and the U.K. models which time and time again gets it right.  One avid fan of these storms claimed they look at a larger picture rather just key one a few features.  They listen to the whole orchestra to see where the music is going, not to just one clarinet player.

     To make matters worse, the only reason this was news was because of the threat to American interests, but hardly anyone even mentioned the fate of those sparsely populated islands, though populated all the same.  Hurricanes tend to barrel through violently, but it doesn’t take them long to move on.  Thank God, because no one would want that kind of wind around for a long time.  Buildings can withstand terrific wind speeds of 125 mph.  They just might not fare as well if they have to do the same for twelve hours.  Or 24 hours, for that matter. And no one should have to ever endure that kind of horror.  Well, that’s what those poor souls down there populating those sparsely populated islands have done, and I, for one, fear for their fate, even though hardly anyone in the media does.

     After all, when the Navel of the World is just a few hundred miles away, being in the eye of the hurricane means nothing.  You might as well be flicked off the surface of the body life some unwanted bug.

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