I personally have never had to weather the wrath of a hurricane, though I have lived in hurricane threat zones on two different occasions, one of which came with the responsibility of protecting a class of Special Forces students, and the other in the name of National Defense. On both occasions, we were required to “Run ahead” of the storms, up north toward and in search of more boreal climes that could not foster the warm air and high moisture content more familiar to equatorial regions.
My persona didn’t like that, that running away from storms, I wanted to be the fool that stayed behind running the streets temping the Creator until eventually a news reporter is crouching next to my corps hopelessly twisted up in chain-link fence lying at the bottom of somebody’s swimming pool. The owners would not have been there to save me; they’d have all run ahead of the storm as other still-living folks would have done.
Key ingredients for the formation of a hurricane
The generation of a hurricane-class superstorm requires:
• at least 80 degrees (F) of oceanic water temperature
• 150-foot minimum water depth
• a minimum of 74 MPH wind speed
Then, in the northern hemisphere such as we are, the developing storm takes on a strong counter-clockwise rotation due to the Coriolis effect of the rotating Earth. The Coriolis effect drives the speed of rotation of the storm’s rain bands faster and faster toward the storm’s center, typically culminating in the Lethean peace of the hurricane’s eye.
(Note that all these monstrous phenomena could not take place if the world were flat, and I’d love to hear a Flat-Earther try to explain the whole process on a flat Earth model. Those are the same kind of people who believe the Tsar and the Czar are two different people.)
Related: Watch: NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid in a planetary defense test
A hurricane is not guaranteed to have a calm eye, so storm victims are not promised that 10- to 20-minute break in the storm’s fury while the eye transitions over their location. However, when the transition through the eye is complete, the winds of the second half of the storm have changed direction by 180 degrees.
A hurricane, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, ain’t nothing to mess with. I would venture that it would be very difficult to pick up and evacuate your area; the desire to stay and fight it out with a hurricane is far too romantic, and the excuse to booze it up at your hurricane party is more tempting still. Booze and-anti hurricane combat form a silly couple, one guaranteed to force your tail between your legs — good luck!
Related: Why the military has an office dedicated to tracking the world’s biggest blocks of ice
The Fuels Paradox and why hurricanes are getting worse
While this essay does not portend to expound upon the El Niño event, suffice it to say in all generality the event is caused by the warming of the waters of the Pacific Ocean. This happens typically once every three-five years and results in more rain than usual in the United States.
Several years ago I started hearing the predictions that the oceans were warming up. Understand that a rise in oceanic temperature of a single degree of temperature Fahrenheit can have a significant influence on the world’s weather. It is generally accepted that the warming of the oceans brings more frequent and powerful hurricanes as the years roll on.
Having traced back the cause of growing hurricane activity to the warming of the oceans, what then is the reason for the steady rise in ocean temperatures? The particulars will always be caught in eternal debate by oceanographers, atmospherologists, and — to an unfortunate degree — politicians. The culprit is the termed greenhouse effect caused by the burning of fossil fuels to generate power.
The paradox of fuels is, for example, the use of electricity to replace harmful hydrocarbon and fossil fuel emissions. However, since the U.S. was not prepared for the birth of the Tesla electric vehicles (EV), it has to overburden the existing electrical grid to the point of harmful grid shutdowns. Demand Americans to park their Teslas and not drive them for several days to provide relief to the nation’s power grid. You could sooner talk an American to give up their dog poo-poo and thistles double-tap frap-cap deluxe from Starbucks, than give up our driving freedom for a week.
A replenishment of power to the electrical grid can come from the usual generation of electricity from coal-fired power plants and… hence the fuels paradox. Where then does the cure-all lie for the issue of weakened electrical power grids, deadly fossil fuel emissions, and hydrocarbons as well? Nuclear power quietly sits and waits.
By Almighty God and with honor,
Feature Image: Monstrous Hurricane Florence photographed from the International Space Station. (NASA)
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george E. Hand IV says
Splendid comment, Ms. Loula.
I would take the Hurricane in that I have never experienced a full-up Hurrican, and have already been through SERD.
Thank you, my friend, as always, for making my day once again! Very excellent, Geo. I always love your articles and spirit, and always learn something. The Diagraph of a Northern hemisphere hurricane’s structure is great. How hurricanes evolve has been explained to me a few times, but your digraph is like a million words rolled up into that picture.
george E. Hand IV says
I’m glad I got out of bed after all today. I taught Weather Course to the divers at Key West. I took a college weather course in at Lewis. The teacher was our channel 8 weather meteorologist on TV. We dropped off homework at a dead drop at the library in Ft. Lewis, and picked up our graded work on Friday. I got several personal comments of praise from the teacher and made an A in the class and just really enjoyed it.
Loula Snell says
I think I’d take a hurricane over SERE training where the Wu-Tang Clan was repeatedly put through the loudspeakers, any day!
Interesting article Geo. Much appreciated.
george E. Hand IV says
Ha ha ha…
you’re very welcome for the Wu Tang Clan minute, Ms. Loula!