Monday, June 23, 2008

Are We Going To Have a Hurricane???

"Are we going to have a hurricane?" asked the elderly lady from the tour bus, a look of total fear and desperation darkening her aged countenance. An enormous black cloud slowly advanced, with an occasional flicker of lightning highlighting leaves and debris blowing in the quickening wind.
"Naw," I said, "it's just a thunderstorm." She gasped in disbelief and ran on tiptoes across the parking lot to the supposed safety of the waiting bus.

OK, we must admit that "hurricane bravado" is part of the cultural norm in the Florida Keys. There have been historical disastrous hurricanes, such as those in 1919 and 1935, and more recently severe storms like Georges in 1998 and Wilma in 2005. Wilma, with its flooding and the subsequent rise in insurance rates, dovetailed with our current real estate slump. (For more information, see ).

They say that the real estate market will recover next year if we don't have another hurricane. The experts say it's a La Nina year. That means there's a cooler current off the coast of South America that is usually associated with a diminished hurricane season in Florida. At the same time they predict a 65% probability of a busier than normal season. But the experts have been wrong before.

So we took a non-scientific poll of old timers, both male and female. There are some that will say the number of hurricanes is related to the relative abundance of land crabs. Others will say it has to do with the migration of land turtles across the road (from ocean to gulf, mind you), or the temperature of near-shore waters. And there are others who just seem to have an inchoate sense of knowing.

So here is this year's prediction: there will be two strong storms, both of which will probably miss us. Conditions will be reminiscent of 1979, when Hurricanes David and Frederic threatened the Keys, but passed us by.

But in view of the unusual weather across the Midwest this year, it might be a good idea to keep those flood and windstorm policies paid up.


Concerned Neighbor said...

Well, a couple of months later, and so far so good with the predictions, although Ike looks like it might become a problem.

Here in NC the press is playing Hanna up like it's gonna be a disaster, but we've all seen thunderstorms that were worse (I hope)!

Concerned Neighbor said...

Son-of-a-Pup, Hanna managed to flood our apartment again here in NC!

About Ike, according to the 9/7/08 2 PM advisory, it looks as if the mountains in Cuba will save the Keys once again.
So my annual prediction made back in May (admittedly 90% intuitive) holds true! Keeping th' fingers crossed, Your Correspondent.