A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Saturday, June 1st, marks the official beginning of the 2013 Hurricane Season.
It is a date graven into the memories, and on the psyche of those of us who reside in the "catcher's mitt" of the Carolina coast.
Already, the experts are telling us to expect a busier than usual hurricane season for the Atlantic.
Those of us who live in Hurricane Alley ALWAYS expect a busy hurricane season. It's the way we survive. It's the way generations before us have survived.
The moment a storm slides off the western coast of Africa, we assume it is headed directly for Little River, SC. Oh, it may zig and zag a bit, even a great deal, but we remain steadfast in our belief that THAT particular storm has our name written all over it. Until it is north of Newfoundland it remains a threat -- at least in our minds.
Too often I have begun to enjoy a sigh of relief -- when a storm had moved north of my location -- only to have that storm make a complete loop and launch itself at the Carolina coast ... again. (Yes, hurricanes can -- and do -- make 360º circles!)
For those of you who may be new to our region of the US, understand: There is no such thing as a predictable hurricane nor a minor hurricane.
Remember Sandy, from just last year. Well, due to media hype, and the active imaginations of folks unfamiliar with hurricanes, you would have thought Sandy was the worst hurricane ever! Not so! Sandy was not a hurricane when she went ashore in New Jersey. In fact, Sandy was not even a tropical storm when she made landfall. She was, in fact, so weak at that point that she was only a sub-tropical storm!
"As The New American reported last year, Superstorm Sandy was “neither the largest Atlantic storm on record nor the deadliest. The National Hurricane Center reports Olga was the largest in recorded history with a wind extent of 600 miles, more than 100 miles greater than Sandy's. In terms of death toll, among the top 10 worst U.S. natural disasters reported by LiveScience are the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 which claimed 8,000 lives and the Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 which killed 2,500.” Neither did it make the top 10 list of costliest hurricanes. ICAT's Damage Estimator, we reported, “ranks the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 as number one at more than $180 billion in 2012 dollars. The Galveston and Lake Okeechobee storms rank second and ninth respectively, and seven of the top 10 occurred before 1961. Hurricane Katrina is number four.” Nor are hurricanes more frequent today. As James Taylor writes, “NOAA reports a long-term decline in strong tornadoes striking the United States. The National Hurricane Center reports that the past 40 years have seen the fewest major hurricane strikes since at least the mid-1800s. Even Hurricane Sandy reminds us that the U.S. Northeast has experienced only one major hurricane strike since 1960, but experienced six major hurricane strikes during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, when global temperatures were cooler.” SOURCE: http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/14542-obama-vows-to-bypass-congress-on-climate-change
I have, in my office, hurricane tracking charts at the ready. Plotting a storm's track is an excellent way to become better acquainted with a storm. Comparing the track of the new storm to tracks of old storms helps one get a feel for the pattern of hurricane approaches to the Southeast and Gulf coastlines of the US.
Storm Names for
The following names will be used for named storms that form in the North Atlantic in 2013. Retired names, if any, will be announced by the World Meteorological Organization in the spring of 2014. The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2019 season. This is the same list used in the 2007 season, except for Dorian, Fernand, and Nestor which replaced Dean, Felix, and Noel respectively.
And so it begins.
It is a little eerie, at least to me, to be writing of hurricanes when our fellow Americans are digging out from tornadoes. But such is weather.
Whatever happens during the 2013 hurricane season which ends, officially, on November 30th, we won't blame it on man-made global warming or climate change. See, I don't believe in "Global Warming." I AM convinced that we have entered a global cool down, which will lead, over time, to the next mini ice age on earth.
Thomas Sowell is credited with having asked: "Would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast for tomorrow? If not, then why should this country bet billions on global warming predictions that have even less foundation?"
A very wise man that Mr. Sowell.
Even John Steinbeck seemed to understand the difference between weather and climate when he said: "I've lived in good climate, and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate."
As America is still digging out from last year's hurricane assault and yesterday's tornado rampage, we begin to focus our attention on the west coast of Africa where so many of our deadly hurricanes are born. Too, we remember the warning of Thomas Fuller who said: "In fair weather prepare for foul."
As I sit here writing, the temperature is 82º, the heat index is 91º, the relative humidity is 59%, the sun is shining, I have a 4 MPH breeze from the south, and I am thinking "hurricane season." I think Mr. Fuller would be proud of me!
© J. D. Longstreet