Thursday, August 09, 2007

Poke Salid Annie

The Dog Days of summer set in with a vengeance after a rainy and cool year so far. Lucky us, we at least have a little sea breeze and the temperatures are actually lower than in many other parts of the nation. Today also marks when the hurricane predictions were updated by University of Colorado and NOAA: 13 to 15 named cyclones between now and late October. As Jeff Masters remarked over on his blog at Weather Underground, that’s a bunch considering we only had three fizzlers this year, with Chantal being the last. To add further complexity, the tropics are dead quiet, absolutely nothing.

But as Dr. Masters also said, the conditions are right and two weather models already predict a tropical depression in the Caribbean or Gulf forming by this coming Tuesday – although another two do not. Obviously, it’s the time of year not to be complacent. Conditions are perfect right now.

The surfers bemoan the lack of waves and wish for something to happen way offshore to send us some decent swell. They even invented a game called surfboard polo, they are so bored – doesn’t that sound wacky? In the meantime, I’m making sure the fish in the skinny surf are as well fed as possible by fishing with barbless hooks. It’s quite an art, although I think the brown surf crabs are getting more than their fair share.

Theories abound as to why ennui and extreme danger can coexist at once, on these hot subtropical days. One is that all the politicians and the President take off August and bring their hot air back to their constituents, instead of leaving it up in D.C. You’ve heard the old hat that a butterfly in Africa could beat its wings to create a slight downdraft, which turns into a thunderstorm and then a hurricane. I beg to differ: it’s all that bellowing by politicians that creates a “giant sucking sound.”

Inside joke, a cyclone has very low pressure and by definition, sucks air. As my mind wanders, no doubt fueled by lack of big contracts to work on this week, I recall a meeting of several days ago with Town management about bay issues. During casual conversation Raul Morales mentioned that most of the buildings on this Island were substandard because they did not have blow-through walls on the first story, in case a hurricane came along – either that or they needed at least three rebar rods in cement block walls as opposed to one every five feet. So I had to mention I had a 1970 beach house on telephone poles and he nodded approvingly. “The force of the water is tremendous, but you just let it go and you will be safe. Did your house sway very much?”

Laughing, I said the house was bucking and snorting like a mustang but nary a crack in the tile floor or sheetrock walls, even in an estimated 86 MPH gust. Not that I’d want to ride that rodeo again.

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