Hurricane probability is fairly high this time

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 24, 2022, 12:30 AM | comments: 0

Funny how a week or two ago there were these stories all over the news about how the hurricane season was so quiet despite expectations for the opposite. There was literally nothing tracking. Now there are five systems in the Atlantic basin. The only one of any concern was named Ian this evening. At the moment, it doesn't look like there's any question about whether or not it will impact Florida, it's more of a where and how much. The center of the cone drags across the southern gulf coast then visits us. The European agency, however, thinks it will turn more to the right and pass over the everglades. That would be ideal, because it would make it merely inconvenient for us. If it goes a little to the left, it puts us in the path of the front-right part of the storm, which is the worst part. Hurricanes are huge, so I expect we'll see something regardless.

Irma in 2017 is our only significant experience with tropical storms. We've had some remnants drop a lot of rain, but Irma was definitely the most serious. When I say serious, I mean it wasn't that big of a deal beyond a sleepless night, because new construction is pretty solid post-Andrew. What I learned about forecasting was that The Weather Channel was fucking terrible and local TV wasn't much better. The most useful information came from the National Hurricane Center, especially the text of the every-six-hour forecast discussion, and the wind speed probability numbers. The latter changes constantly, but it's the most honest assessment about what you're likely to see. Like right now, five days out, we're 50/50 for 39 mph wind, but only 20% for 58 mph. A day from now those will likely go up, It will either peak in that time and decline, or go to 100% for one of the three wind levels in the 12 hour column.

At the moment, Ian looks just like Irma if the consensus of all the models is right, but there's still so much variability that we don't really know. The Western Caribbean water is so freaking warm right now, so the longer it takes to turn north toward Cuba, the worse it will be.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited by a little sustained high wind, provided people don't get hurt and property isn't damaged. It gives me a lot of perspective about where we rank in the universe. This house did fine in Irma, even though it had no flooring or garage doors yet. No leaks anywhere, and the drywall was, uh, dry. My only concern now is finding out just how well the solar panels are installed, not just because of how they're secured, but they're our backup (with the battery) if the power goes out. They're also not insured because Progressive won't write a policy on them. Not very many carriers will, apparently.

It could fizzle out, but that they increased it to a category 3 at landfall tonight makes that unlikely. Nothing we can do but roll with it?


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