The wind sounds like the ocean, which also want to kill you.
A hurricane starts off North Africa, born out of the dust of the Sahara, and grows fat off the warm summer surface water; fat: I’m a hundred miles away from the eye of this particular storm and my entire evening’s ruined. Hurricanes are temporary mountains made from weather: you have to figure for them in your plans. Utterly unignorable; most weather, you don’t have to give a shit about, but hurricanes demand your attention. There’s a reason they put them on maps.
Hurricanes began getting names in 1953, and stopped only getting women’s names in 1979. (My favorite part of the past, which was terrible, is how often shittiness was official. People are still very shitty to each other constantly, but most of the official, written-down policies are explicitly non-shitty. Oh, and while I’m on my social justice high horse: this is usually the place where I mention that the rest of the world does something differently, or calls it something else, but hurricanes only happen in America and the Caribbean, which is America’s lake.)
Most of the names have been solid and recognizable ones–Matthew comes to mind–but some have been odd, like the storm in 1971 that killed ten in Haiti, Vaginismus. The guy who thought up “John, But A Lady” in ’77 must have been on some sort of chemical.
There has never been a hurricane named Adolf.
I’m watching the storm from space, in real-time. This is what it looks like:
I’m the little circle in the middle. Matthew has swooped up the through the islands and now–right at this instant–he’s stalling a little, in fact the northern edge of his eye is decohering a tad. He keeps jogging east, but without the accompanying rise to the north that would make me happy. (Until the fucker loops back on us next week, if the scientists and computers are right.)
Radar app, plus Twitter feed, plus the teevee news, which I had to look away from: all three networks–and this is really the only remaining need for local television–are covering the storm without commercials, and have been all day. Some of the broadcasters are beginning to look a bit haggard. But the information is most certainly available.
There used to be a job called weather spotting. Guy in a boat, he’d look for storms. And if he saw one, he would tell you. That was the best humanity could do until 1960. The first weather satellite was called TIROS, and it was launched in 1960. Before that: a guy in a boat. Everyone loves astronauts, but think of the millions of lives weather satellites have saved.
A hurricane is impressive, but so is the ability to see it coming.
Who noticed I skipped 5?
More names never used for hurricanes: Flumbert, Smeagol, Adolfina, Cherry Fanta.
Blizzards don’t get names, though. That’s Weather Channel branding/propaganda. It’s propabranda. Those are not official names those radar-fetishists over there slap on every snowstorm big enough to close down Queens.
Now, some winter storms get names after they happen, if they’re big enough, or kill enough people, or at a weird time of year, or something else notable. And they get named sensible things like “the Blizzard of 1888” or “the Christmas Blizzard” or “the Schoolhouse Blizzard.” (Do not look that last one up, trust me.)
And then the Weather Channel starts fucking around. Look at this bullshit:
A few of the winter storm names used by March 2013 include Athena, Brutus, Caesar, Gandolf, Khan, and Nemo.
Did you see that bullshit? That is some bullshit right there. Fuck you, Weather Channel.