“Another freakin’ hurricane?!!!”
Those were my thoughts when my next-door neighbor texted Sunday evening with a map of then-Tropical Storm Delta making a line for our part of the Gulf Coast. The wife and I just spent three days in Nashville with friends overeating and rolling our eyes at every bachelorette party in existence riding by in big trucks blaring pop country music while the girls rubbed their booties on one another.
Such a feast for the senses had left me fat and exhausted. Just seeing another map of “spaghetti” models slithering all over our area of the coast made me momentarily consider moving to Nashville to drive a bachelorette booty truck.
Everyone was incredulous Monday hearing about Hurricane Delta making way for our area. “It’s too late! This is too late in the year!” Or, “It’s so nice and cool outside! How can this happen?”
Truly, it feels like some kind of cheat to still have Mother Nature spinning hurricanes at us in October. It’s like Tom Brady playing with deflated footballs. It’s patently unfair for us to be talking about “cones,” “storm surge” and “wind shear” this late in the year, especially after just being hit by Sally.
Should we expect anything else from 2020, though? This year has been unrelenting in dropping one disaster after another on us. Expect an invasion of rabid hummingbirds, an epic sand storm or a new Pitbull album to hit us in December as ’20 wheeze-laughs its way to a close. That’s assuming we survive the election in November without killing one another arguing over two guys who both have a barely measurable grip on reality.
Listening to the Weather Channel Tuesday morning, Jim Cantore was in-studio, resplendent in a royal blue vest, saying this is the sixth time this hurricane season the Central Gulf Coast has been “in the cone.” I’m sick of being in the cone. The cone sucks. Mostly because when you’re in the cone you really have no idea what’s going to happen except all the toilet paper in town disappears.
I’ve started to look at being in the cone as a test of willpower between various communities as we all wish the hurricane on the other side of said cone. We’re all good people who love one another and wouldn’t want anyone slammed by a hurricane, but if one has to hit somewhere, better there than here.
These “steering currents” we hear so much about are probably actually just the ardent wishes of people in various parts of the cone pushing the storm one way or another.
Let me caution that none of that has been scientifically proven, so you might not want to mention it to Alan Sealls or any other smart person you read in Lagniappe. Just know in your heart that your desire for Hurricane Delta to go somewhere else will have more effect if you actually pick a certain place you’d rather see it go.
“Anywhere but here” is too vague. “Some swampy place in Louisiana where only nutria live” is giving Delta more direction as she looks for a place to hammer. And be realistic. You can’t wish for Delta to hit Antarctica or Moscow.
Not really heeding my own advice, I’ve been wishing strongly for Delta to go “somewhere west so I don’t have to go pull that damn boat out of the water again.” Not very precise, I know. But, I just put the pontoon boat back in the slip last week, thinking “shouldn’t have to do this again anytime soon.”
That’s the thing about being in the cone — it often requires preventative measures that turn out to be a total waste of time and money. But another part of hurricane magic you won’t hear about from so-called meteorologists is the power NOT preparing has to lure in killer storms.
So just as I certainly caused Delta to magically spring to life just by putting a small pontoon boat back into its slip, I would also be responsible for it coming straight here if I leave the boat out where it could be easily and joyfully destroyed by Delta. Our best hope is some Cajun leaves his pirogue out in front of his houseboat west of Thibodeaux and Delta eyes it as soon as mine comes out of the water.
As I write this, there is much discussion of Delta actually growing into a Cat 4 hurricane as it crosses the Gulf. This also seems like a reason to call a timeout on hurricane season.
Cat 4? In October? Come on! Doesn’t this nice fall weather mean anything anymore? Delta isn’t playing by the hurricane rules we’ve come to know.
And maybe that’s because we’re screwing around with the rules as well. Hurricanes are supposed to get actual human names. This has been well established for decades, but now that we’ve “run out” of approved names this season, the Greek alphabet is being employed.
Delta is definitely one of the better Greek alphabet names if you’re a hurricane, but Alpha, Beta, Gamma and others all sound like some kind of meteorological fraternity system. Giving hurricanes dumb non-names is bound to piss them off. Thus, you get a Cat 4 churning up the gulf in October.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is the group responsible for this plan. They basically ensured super active hurricane seasons by deciding never to use Q, U, X, Y and Z names, more or less double-dog daring Mother Nature to produce more than 21 named storms. Besides the fact those folks at the end of the alphabet won’t ever get a storm named after them — I have two U-named kids, for example — the folks at WMO may not have considered the lack of respect they’re showing for these “lettercanes.”
If anything, once we’ve already been through 21 named storms in a season, those that come next should bear names reflective of the fear and horror we all experience thinking about having to go into storm mode yet again in October. Names like Beelzebub, Optimus Prime and Charles Manson are way more frightening than one of the letters used by the sorority that blackballed you.
So, get your valuable possessions out of the front yard and think positive thoughts about Delta being someone else’s problem. We’ve paid our dues this hurricane season — which doesn’t end until November 30, by the way.
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