27 August 2008

Meteorological mischief

I’m an avid hurricane watcher. It comes from growing up in the path of so many tropical storms down in south Florida (where I grew up, Miami was the big city to the north of us). As a young child, I would map the progress of storms across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Caribbean Sea, plotting their coordinates and tracking their barometric pressure and maximum sustained winds at each reading. Combining that background with the fact that I plan to spend a few days down in Florida this Labor Day weekend, it should come as no surprise that I’ve been keeping an eye on Hurricane Gustav this week. As best as I can tell from the storm’s history and the current computer predictions, it looks like I’ll be safe in Florida.

Residents of the Gulf Coast, however, might not be so fortunate. In fact, based on the most current projections I’ve seen, it looks as though Gustav will become a rather strong storm (maybe Category 3) as he moves into the Gulf of Mexico, and he might make landfall somewhere around the city of New Orleans. Of course, any predictions about hurricanes that extend more than a day or two into the future are somewhat speculative; we are a long way from understanding all of the factors that control the weather. But the irony of this possibility was too striking to ignore (and I must thank Jason for the initial idea behind this post). To reiterate, there’s a decent chance that a major hurricane might hit New Orleans around the middle of next week, evoking memories of the devastation that was Katrina (she hit NOLA three years ago this Friday) and the current Administration’s continual failures in cleanup and restoration efforts – right in the middle of the Republican National Convention!! To paraphrase my spouse’s comments on this, that would be a fine display of Mother Nature’s justice.

I wonder if Lou Dobbs is on the phone with Pat Robertson right now, asking him to pray Gustav over to the coast of Mexico instead…

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